By: Ravyn Malvino
If you were planning to attend a Halloween party this year, the scariest sight you’ll see will likely be the spike in Covid-19 cases the following week. This year, students are advised not to party during Halloween weekend. The Adelphi administration has plans in place to encourage students to put the safety of the community as well as their own safety first this Halloween and to not risk the remainder of the semester while putting others at risk.
“While we all would love to go back to the way things were before, we must keep in mind that the coronavirus will not take a holiday this year,” said Nicole Gaudino MS, AGNP-C, Adelphi’s director of health services.
Covid-19 is one of the most contagious diseases in our time and it doesn’t take much to start a cluster of infected students making the possibility of large, Halloween-themed gatherings, especially those that will take place indoors, even more worrisome.
“We saw this around the country on Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day – even in crowds that were largely outside. Limiting gathering sizes, keeping social distance and minimizing mask-off time is crucial,” said Gaudino. “With Halloween falling on a weekend this year, the likelihood of larger gatherings is more likely.”
Don’t assume because you’re asymptomatic you can’t be a carrier. Cameron Wolfe, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Duke Health in Durham, NC, said, “When we’ve looked on our college campus at the amount of virus that’s shed by different students, I am consistently shocked that some of the most prolific shedders of Covid are completely asymptomatic. If there’s a message there, it’s please don’t fool yourself into believing you’re safe just because your symptoms aren’t there. If you know you’ve had an exposure please take that seriously even if you’re feeling well. There’s a reasonable chance you can be infected and just not know.”
The Adelphi administration is aware of the risks that may arise this Halloween and are taking precautions.
“With the holidays approaching, we strongly encourage students and other members of our community to continue to be responsible and make safe choices that reflect the values of our Code of Conduct and protect our Adelphi family,” said Sentwali Bakari,vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
“With few exceptions, the Adelphi family has behaved responsibly and we believe that will continue through the semester,” said Bakari. He was referring to the 20 Adelphi students who attended a recent off-campus event that seemed to contradict New York State health guidelines and Adelphi’s social distancing protocols and Pledge to Protect.
Of these 20 students, five tested positive for Covid-19 and 16 were quarantined. While this event was handled, Bakari emphasized that violators of these policies on and off-campus will be held accountable. Ahead of the Halloween weekend, the administration plans to send emails and RAVE alerts, reminding community members of the risks and how to be safe.
Despite some instances of Adelphi students disobeying Covid-19 prevention policies, most have complied with the rules enforced by the administration.
“To date, our testing program, social distancing, daily health checks and observance of the Pledge to Protect ourselves and others has held down infection rates at Adelphi,” said Gaudino. “Let’s keep it that way as we continue the in-person campus experience until Thanksgiving.”
Kathleen Beatty, a senior and president of the Inter Greek Council, encouraged her peers to stay safe this Halloween to ensure that she can finish her Adelphi experience on campus.
“I personally want to finish my senior year on campus and I hope that other people also take the steps to be careful so we can enjoy having a certain amount of normalcy,” said Beatty. “I definitely think that if people don’t take into consideration the protocols that there is a high chance of going back home early.”
This year, rather than attending Halloween parties during Halloweekend, students should find other ways to have fun for the holiday. “Adelphi students are bright and creative – I believe they will creatively figure out a way to celebrate and mark upcoming occasions, including Halloween, in a fun but safe way,” said Gaudino.
Beatty plans to celebrate Halloween this year by grabbing some ice cream and having a movie night with her roommate in a safe, socially distanced way and hopes her classmates will do the same.
“I think Adelphi students have handled things really well so far and I’m hoping that Halloween will be reimagined like we’ve done with other holidays this year so we can all enjoy our experiences,” she said.