The University of New Haven prepares for Halloween amidst COVID+ cases on campus

With Halloween approaching, the University of New Haven division of student affairs is taking action to keep cases from rising after the surge of COVID+ cases on campus.

A statement from dean of students and chief student affairs officer Ophelie Rowe-Allen said, “We realize that Halloween is a popular time for students to gather and enjoy this festive holiday. Unfortunately, the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus global pandemic has required all us to adapt and change the way we interact with each other.”

The statement also said that students should be aware of Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcements associated with Halloween activities and gatherings. Rowe-Allen encourages students to participate in activities where they can maintain physical distance and use face coverings. She also recommends participating in mostly outdoor activities.

According to the CDC website, “Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses.”

The CDC website describes lower, moderate, and higher-risk activities to participate in and the Department of Public Health (DPH) of Connecticut recommends focusing on lower and moderate risk activities in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

DPH recommends hosting virtual Halloween events, Halloween movie nights and candy scavenger hunts with members of a household.

“If students go out to interact with others,” said the statement, “we ask that they limit their interactions to those in their family units. Numerous offices across campus will be offering activities to ensure that students are able to safely enjoy Halloween.”

Students across campus have made plans for a COVID-free Halloween, like junior health sciences major Kyle Pinto.

“I plan on staying indoors this Halloween and enjoying a virtual movie night with my fraternity brothers,” said Pinto. He said that his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, is encouraging younger members who live off-campus to be responsible during the holiday.

Like Pinto, junior psychology major Emma Dombrowski plans to stay indoors for a Halloween movie night.

For many, Halloween this year is not what people pictured, and unfortunately, Dombrowski said that it may be difficult for some students to behave.

“With Halloween being on a Saturday this year, it is hard to resist the urge to go out and have fun,” said Dombrowski, “Many students still do not believe that going out and breaking guidelines will impact them. While I do hope that students will follow the guidelines, I will not be surprised if there is another spike on campus following Halloween.”

However, other students, such as Pinto, remain hopeful that students will comply with the COVID guidelines.

“Following the recent uptick of on-campus cases of COVID-19, I believe more students will be inclined to follow guidelines to reduce the spread,” he said.

Rowe-Allen reminds students that they should act in accordance with the student directives and the Charger Care Pledge that “specify behaviors and principles they should adhere to when on and off-campus.”

She also encourages students to report any suspected violations of COVID policies on the LifeSafe app, Report It or the university’s police department.

In her statement, Rowe-Allen said: “If all of our students follow the guidelines in place, everyone can have an enjoyable Halloween and help ensure the health of their classmates.”