Don’t Stop the Party?

By Lauren Wolters

Halloween at the University of Findlay looked a little different this year. Students were advised to keep their gatherings small, to not share food, stay outside, and disinfect EVERYTHING. Masks were required as well but not by the usual costume party standards.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dave Emsweller sent out information on Nov. 3 in a UF Update email updating the numbers.

 “Last week, we administered 73 tests; there were 97 active positive cases; and 379 people were in quarantine. While the numbers from last week are certainly concerning, we are starting to see a decline in both the number of new positive cases and number in quarantine,” Emsweller said in the email.

On Oct. 28 UF students received a letter from Karim Baroudi, Hancock County Health Commissioner regarding COVID cases and actions needed.

“On behalf of Public Health and the entire community, I would ask that you do not hold or attend social gatherings where physical distancing is not possible or where attendees are not following face covering requirements. Most students’ residences cannot safely hold more than 4-5 people while accounting for physical distancing of 6-feet between people. In order for us to continue with in-person classes, we need everyone to follow these guidelines:

  • If Contact Tracing identifies you to be a “close contact”, closely follow the terms of your Isolation/Quarantine as outlined by the Public Health and the University Health Center.
  • Do not socialize with people who are not part of your pod while you are sheltering in place.
  • If you are an off-campus student, your pod consists of the people you live with.
  • Wear face coverings when indoors and near others.
  • Wear face coverings when outdoors and when physical distancing is not always possible, as on a busy sidewalk.
  • Wear your face covering properly—it must cover BOTH your mouth and nose.
  • Practice good hand hygiene and avoid touching high-touch surfaces with your hands.”

Emsweller also sent out a UF Update email on Oct. 29 asking for the campus community to follow safety protocols over the weekend and offered a number of reminders to keep the virus from spreading.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Dr. Darin Fields sent an email on Oct. 29 asking faculty to reinforce the message by reminding students during class to limit contact over the holiday weekend.

The Chief of the University of Findlay Safety and Security William Spraw says campus security has not had to break up any parties so far this year but has made plenty of changes besides just wearing masks and socially distancing in order to make the UF community safer in the midst of COVID-19.

“We do transport students to quarantine and deliver meals to quarantined students to assist Sodexo,” said Spraw in an email interview. “We try to use our golf carts for transports to cut down on exposure.”

Spraw says they keep an eye out for violators of COVID-19 campus protocol.

 “We are not per se patrolling for social distancing violations but if we see violations that are obvious, we will intervene,” Spraw said.

All large group on-campus events are run through the University of Findlay administration. Therefore, the Chief and the rest of Campus Safety and Security staff have not been asked to intervene or monitor these types of events. This allows them to aim most of their efforts to their new COVID-19 related responsibilities of transporting quarantining students and delivering meals for dining services.

However, Campus Safety and Security refuses to take all the credit for the University of Findlay’s safe operation this fall. The chief applauds UF’s Room Assistants and Resident Directors for their efforts amid the global pandemic.

“RAs and RDs are doing a good job in the dorms to monitor mask/distancing violations in the dorms,” Spraw said.

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