As E&H Begins New Semester, COVID-19 Cases Appear

For this spring 2021 semester, E&H required all three-fourths of its students returning to campus to produce a negative COVID-19 test upon their move-in date. Before the semester could officially begin, however, a positive case was announced on the first day of term, Wednesday, Jan. 16.

A potential flaw in requiring a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before move-in is that the test serves as a “snapshot,” meaning that a person can contract the virus mere moments after receiving a negative result.

Susan Stanley, Director of Health Services at E&H, implores a strict policy for the new semester.

“We must respect and continue to protect each other,” she said. “Wear your facial covering properly and continue working together six feet apart.”

Stanley noted that even following the rules would not be completely effective, but are put in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19. In this same tone, E&H continues to follow the COVID-19 guidelines set in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the previous fall 2020 semester, Emory & Henry College allowed less than half of its typically residential student body to return to campus. Despite the measures taken to combat COVID-19 at the time, numerous students and faculty contracted the virus or had to self-isolate after exposure.

E&H sophomore Gloria Tuttle was among the students on campus in the fall, and she was among the students who moved in before the start of the spring semester.

“I feel like some of the guidelines are hypocritical and don’t make any sense,” Tuttle said. “I understand the point of the rules, but Emory still isn’t the same.”

Some see hope on the horizon now that several vaccines have begun the first rounds of release to the general public.

“Free COVID vaccines are already being administered to identified groups by our local health department,” Stanley said. She also assured that when availability of the vaccine is heightened, further information will be given.

The Health Center also recommends that those who have not received a seasonal flu shot do so immediately by calling 276-944-6219 to schedule an appointment.

To keep updated on the status of active COVID-19 cases at E&H, go to COVID-19 Dashboard • E&H: Strong and Safe Together • Emory & Henry.