See you on the other side

Teresa Zangari , Contributing Writer

Am I doing something wrong?

In September of 2021, our university approached uncharted waters. Students, faculty and staff were mandated to be fully vaccinated by the start of classes in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Information was gathered from the CDC and Connecticut’s Department of Public Health to ensure people on campus were following the correct protocols. Since then, increasing amounts of miscommunication between the COVID Task Force and Health Services have made students become hesitant and uncertain, and I have a first-hand account.

My first COVID-19 test this semester was positive. After explaining to the nurses that there was no way this result could be true, they admitted that there were most likely multiple other false results on campus, but they weren’t sure of how many. With that in mind, I offered to get another PCR test at home, but I was denied. The best advice they could give me was for myself to isolate myself for five days in my off-campus house, and health services would be in touch “when they had the chance.”
The only call I received was on day seven. The six other communication attempts prior to that to health services and the COVID task force were ignored.

Following my clearance, nine days after my positive test, the COVID task force sent me multiple emails telling me to get the booster shot by Jan. 31. If I failed to do so, the consequences were unclear. Some members of the task force said I would not be able to attend classes and others told me I would be okay.
So, which is it?

CDC guidelines advise people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 to wait 90 days before getting their booster because of the possibility that the side effects may be more intense or exaggerated. Since I was not eligible for the booster, I confirmed with my doctor that the best option for me was to wait. I tried once again to communicate with the task force and school health services about my issues with their protocols, and I received three different answers: get a medical exemption, wait one month or get it done now. The deadline quickly approached, so I decided that I would wait one month.

As students, open communication is a valuable element. The university’s ability to communicate about COVID-19 has caused a countless amount of conflict between administrators and students. Unfortunately, due to this issue, the relationship between the two can weaken and hinder the success of our learning environment.