Biola’s case rates continue to increase

President Corey held a town hall on Thursday evening in wake of recent COVID-19 surges.

Andi Basista, News Editor

Biola University held a Town Hall meeting over Zoom on Thursday evening to encourage health and safety protocols. President Barry Corey opened the meeting with reassurance that the university will not revert to virtual classes.

Director of the Student Health Center Sarah Templeton explained the significance of working as a united group to fight the possibility of an outbreak.

“In the first week we saw about 15 cases and that quickly rose to 39 as of yesterday,” Templeton said. “That was our current case count. [We] are still tabulating and working with students in the health center right now so I do not have today’s numbers.”

“Eighty-nine percent of all positive cases are among unvaccinated students while 11% of reported cases were from vaccinated individuals,” Templeton said.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Director of Student Care Katie Powell explained that in the past 10 days, there have been over 230 documented violations of COVID-19 community standards on campus.

As other campuses like Chapman University and Liberty University see hundreds of students testing positive, the Health Center reiterated the commitment to protocols in the acknowledgment that all students signed before the semester to mitigate the spread.

“We are at a critical point where we need your cooperation,” Templeton said.

UPDATED MEASURES

During the Zoom session, Templeton explained the updated health and safety measures. Students, faculty and staff members must wear a mask indoors at all times unless eating or drinking. At on-campus dining locations, the Health Center also encourages everyone to limit table capacity to five people. Additionally, residential students are not allowed any overnight guests at this time. 

Unvaccinated students will continue to be tested weekly. If cases continue to arise, the university may enforce suspension of open hours, mandate masks outdoors and transition classes to a hybrid model.

BIOLA’S EFFORTS

According to Templeton, the Health Center tracks students exposed to COVID-19 and places them in isolation.

Senior Director of Communications Brenda Velasco explained that the COVID-19 report will be updated every Friday at 5 p.m. Students fearful of class attendance penalties should remain home, as those experiencing symptoms will not be marked down for absence, according to Velasco.

Students who do not comply with guidelines on a second offense could face a $100 fine. If further violations occur, students could be denied access to campus and face potential suspension from the university.

“We understand that this is very tough, it’s not easy,” said Chief of Campus Safety John Ojeisekhoba. “At the end of the day, we are in this together.”

Though Biola does not mandate the coronavirus vaccine, the Health Center will hold a vaccine clinic on Sept. 16.

 

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