During what feels like the 50th surge of COVID-19, we have come upon the most contagious of all of the variants: Omicron. Because of this, cities are shutting down, masks are becoming required again and some schools are going virtual — seems familiar.
Adair County is seeing up to 60 cases a day — the highest it’s been since COVID-19 started. Truman State University took precautions when the pandemic started, but once it began to ease up, so did the safety. Now that the pandemic is at a record high, the precautions should be as well, but that isn’t the case.
We, the Index Editorial Board, feel Truman must make more effort in providing extra protection for its students against the spread of this highly contagious variant.
During the beginning of the pandemic, Truman ensured each student that they would be safe. Masks became required in every building, and the desks were spread six feet apart in every single classroom. If you had any COVID-19 symptoms, you were tested and possibly quarantined.
Then the end of last semester was a taste of freedom. Masks were still required, but COVID-19 cases were low. There were many weeks where no Truman students reported cases. It was the light at the end of the tunnel.
Fast forward a few months, and it feels like 2020, just with more cases — as of Jan. 11, Truman had 28 student cases and 4 employee cases, and this is just within the first week of classes. The only thing that is different is that Truman’s desks are still pushed together, there is no social distancing, many students wear their masks below their noses in buildings, and students are partying like there isn’t a global pandemic.
This is a dangerous reaction to the most transmittable variant of a disease that we don’t know the full impact of. No student should be sitting shoulder to shoulder with another student while they’re coughing and wearing their mask incorrectly.
More precautions need to be taken: desks need to be spread apart, masks need to be worn correctly and students and professors need to be more responsible. We need to be protected. Some students would even prefer to be remote seeing that they think it’s worse now than it was when we had online classes.
Cases are only expected to rise, and without proper precautions, it’s never going to go away. Students should never fear for their health when going to class and should never have to decide if it’s safe to walk outside of their dorm or apartment.
We all need protection from this devastating virus, and the best way to do that is to increase safety precautions.