Spring is in the air and the cold days of winter are over. However, spring during the pandemic has certainly affected everyone differently. College students across the nation are unable to celebrate spring break like they normally would.
First, many colleges have taken additional measures to prevent social activities from getting out of hand. Some colleges like Knox College, Galesburg have drastically shortened their spring break to 3 days.
As a Knox College alumna, I continuously receive emails and updates from the college. Just a couple of hours ago, Knox College President Teresa Amott sent out an email with the subject "Updates from Campus at the End of Winter Term 2020."
After reading her email, I was pleased to see that Knox College has been taking the threat of Covid-19 very seriously.
Spring Term 2021 at Knox College
I attended Knox College many years ago, but even then spring break was a big deal. Everyone just had a blast looking forward to the one week of spring break. Most of the time, students traveled away from campus for spring break whether it was to hit the beaches and party or just spend time with family.
In my case, I was stuck in Galesburg working a few extra hours on campus because my family lived very far away. Nevertheless, I still loved spring break so it's sad to hear about the 3-day spring break this year.
Spring term at Knox College officially starts on March 24. According to President Amott, half of the student population will be tested for Covid-19 each week. Students will be tested every other week.
Like many other colleges and universities in Illinois, Knox is using the Shield Illinois Saliva Test which was first created by the University of Illinois. The advantages of this particular test are that there is a quick turnaround of results and it is overall less invasive.
The college has a Covid-19 dashboard up on their website which tracks the number of Covid tests conducted on students, faculty, and staff who are living or working on campus. In the most recent result, there were 445 new tests conducted from March 13 - March 19, 2021. Out of all those tests for that specific week, only 1 person was potentially infected with Covid and placed in isolation.
Tracking the numbers, it definitely looks like the college has a handle on dealing with Covid-19.
In addition to Covid-19 testing, Knox College has implemented a pledge system analogous to their academic honor code system where individuals take responsibility for their own behavior. The Knox Together Pledge has been developed by students, faculty, and staff to promote the health and safety of their community.
The basic health rules to follow from the Knox Together Pledge are:
- Wearing a mask at all times except in certain situations
- Physical distancing of 6 feet between each other
- Following the college guidelines for gatherings, events, and visitor access
- Participating in Covid-19 testing and the regulations that go along with it that have to do with quarantines and isolation
Like so many colleges and universities across the nation, it can't be easy for those living and studying in Knox College, Galesburg to have their fun restricted during spring break. However, I do believe that Knox is operating in the best interests of its students and faculty.
With Illinois Governor Pritzker sending the order that higher education employees should be subject to priority vaccinations, I think that Knox College will be very ready to open up and resume more normal activities as the academic term progresses.
Here's to a Happy Spring Term!