The new COVID-19 precautions that Keene State College has put into place are not enough for the rapidly increasing number of positive cases.
On Thursday, May 6, 2021, President Melinda Treadwell sent out an email detailing the new and temporary alterations of operations. The new changes in policies consist of all dining services being take-out only, no indoor events or seating in the student center, no use of the recreational center for activities and all in-person events that can be moved outside will be moved outside.
President Treadwell made the decision to put these policies into place in response to the 28 new positive COVID-19 cases that appeared on May 6. The 28 new cases that sprung up on May 6 brought the total number of active cases to 47.
There have been a variety of theories and explanations as to why the number of cases have increased so rapidly but some of the more plausible reasons behind the increase are the weather becoming nicer, more campus wide events and more people receiving their vaccinations which has been leading to people relaxing on policies. Recently, the nicer weather is leading to more people going outside and meeting up with friends. When people begin to gather in groups, the chance of spreading and contracting the virus increases. Additionally, as more and more people are receiving their COVID-19 vaccines, many people do not realize that the vaccine takes two entire weeks for the body to finish building up the protection that the vaccine provides. Despite this, many people are getting their vaccinations and going out and partying before the two weeks are over which leads to the spreading of the virus as well.
Since 56 positive cases is certainly the highest number of positive cases at Keene State so far, the fact that the Keene State administration is still allowing future, campus-wide events, such as the carnival, to happen is mind-boggling. These events will be ones that many students attend to relax and take their minds away from the stress of finals. While the event takes place primarily outside, the high likelihood of there being many attendees and foot traffic in the general area is a very distressing and concerning thought. Despite the college fully knowing that there is currently a potential COVID-19 outbreak happening, they are continuing to allow the hosting of a very large and substantial event. The consequences of having an event of such magnitude has the potential to end the semester abruptly, which would be incredibly devastating to the many hardworking students and staff that have been following all of the college’s guidelines and policies so that they can fully finish the semester non-remotely.
If Keene State College is to continue to see an increase in positive COVID-19 cases, then chances are it would affect the way that the Commencement ceremonies will be held. The fact that there are 18 more days until the Commencement ceremonies and the risk of the college shutting down beforehand is a scary prospect to think about for many graduating students. The Commencement ceremonies is something that nearly all seniors look forward to because it’s the culmination of all the hard work that these graduates put into their education.
At the end of the day, there are many reasons as to why there has been a surge in positive cases at Keene State College.