Saturday, April 1, 2023

COVID Concerns Regarding Classroom Size

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Healthcare workers Johniece Gibson and Mya Hunt test people for COVID in Pine Hall. PN Photo/Victor Mays

By: Victor Mays, Contributor

Due to the surge in Omicron cases UNC Pembroke is working to keep campus safe for students and faculty. UNC Pembroke announced on the COVID-19 dashboard that there are no active clusters on campus. A COVID cluster is a group of COVID cases that are linked to a certain area or event. Despite this information there are still concerns about COVID in the classroom.

“I feel very unsafe to go to my class. There are over 40 students in the classroom. I think that if classes are gonna have that many people in them, they should turn into hybrid classes,” criminal justice major Jenna Murray said.

The school is taking precautions for students to have a safe semester. UNC Pembroke will offer free drive through surveillance testing which is open to all members of the staff, faculty and students on Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Grace P. Johnson Stadium parking lot.

Student Health Services are offering the following vaccine options: Pfizer (first, second and booster doses) and vaccines for the Flu. This is from Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Moderna is also available second doses and booster shot only. Due to limited resources Moderna will only be available every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Braves Health Center.

“Personally, I’m no expert, but I think we should have gone back to the decreased classroom density that we used last school year,” said Dr Jamie Litty. “That being said, all my classes have been face to face since we returned in Fall of 2020, not including summer, and I think our engineer Chuck Lowery has done an excellent job of keeping the Mass Comm department facilities and accessories hygienic throughout this whole ordeal.”

The CDC website says that the Omicron variant is more transmissible and seems to be evading peoples COVID immunity. Different and more specialized masks are now required because our normal mask will not filter out the new variant. US pharmacies are set to release new N95 masks within the next week.

“There has not been a single case of transmission of covid in the classroom. That’s even when there was spacing, as well as when we went back to normal spacing,” Chancellor Robin Cummings said. “We base our decisions on what the NCDHHS and CDC are telling us. They have specific guidelines for institutions of higher education,” Cummings said.

For those who may be feeling overwhelmed and unsafe coming back to classes, precautions are being taken to keep students and faculty safe. COVID Testing is available daily at Student Health Services. Sanitizing stations are set up in every building.

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