It’s hard to remember what life was like before COVID-19. Almost three years later, and something new about COVID-19 is learned every day.
During the spring semester of 2022 Elmhurst University lifted the mask requirements, making wearing a mask optional. Elmhurst University’s Task Force kept a close eye on cases and reported through email on April 25 only 12 positive COVID-19 cases on campus.
Some EU students were left with mixed emotions after the mask mandate was lifted on campus.
“[I felt] free, now that covid is not what it used to be and masking is optional, it has made the school environment more comfortable for me,” stated one EU student who asked to remain anonymous.
As the 2022 fall semester began, new protocols were put into place. Wearing masks on campus is still not required, and new students and faculty must show proof of vaccination unless they have a valid exemption. Further, there has been a change in the isolation period and isolation sites for students who live on campus.
In the Aug. 12 email from Elmhurst University’s COVID-19 Task Force, the new isolation period in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was shared.
The email stated, “If the test is positive, we ask that you stay home and isolate for five days. If after 5 days of isolation you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, and your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms, you may end isolation on day 5.”
In addition, the COVID-19 Task Force is requesting students and staff that test positive for COVID-19 to fill out the “Self-Reporting Form”. This form can easily be found at the bottom of the email, or by searching “Self-Report Form” on the Elmhurst University website.
In response to these new protocols, some students were left with more questions than answers.
“It’s confusing how we can go from 14 days of isolation to only 5, but it also proves how far we’ve come,” stated an anonymous student. “There’s more resources and more information on [COVID-19] and I guess we just have to continue to listen to the CDC and hope one day we can fully get back to normal.”
The CDC website reports that, “regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11.”
For students who live on campus and test positive, there has been a major change. Per the Aug. 12 email, there will be no more isolation sites on campus.
The COVID-19 Task force stated, “Isolation/quarantine spaces will not be available in the residence halls this fall. If you are positive and cannot go home, you must isolate in your residence hall room, on campus apartment/house or your off-campus apartment/home.”
Students and faculty can continue to do their part by making sure they sanitize regularly and wash their hands as often as possible, especially when touching one’s face or eating.
Hand sanitizing dispensers are available in almost every hallway for public use. If classrooms have wipes available, it is recommended to use them to wipe down desks before putting personal belongings down.
The goal is to continue to keep EU a non-fully remote campus, and to always take precautions when possible.
The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to update the campus on cases and any new protocols that are to come.