By Katie Farkas
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Over 19 months have gone by and this pandemic is still a part of our everyday lives, but things are looking up for the Adelphi community.
“We have learned so much about prevention and safety measures,” said Gene Palma, vice president of Wellness, Safety and Administration. “We’ve adapted as the pandemic evolved and we will continue to do so. Our university is in a very good place with regard to preventing the transmission of Covid-19 and we are counting on all members of our community to keep up the good work in complying with safety guidelines.”
Adelphi students on campus are in full compliance with the university’s vaccine mandate policy, with 100 percent of students meeting the vaccination criteria, Palma said. “Adelphi works in full cooperation with the local health departments to do contact tracing on all confirmed cases of Covid-19. Any member of our community who has had contact with a confirmed case will be notified and instructed about next steps and Adelphi’s Covid-19 Dashboard is updated daily [on the university website].”
Currently 6,715 of about 8,000 total students are vaccinated. There are also 772 faculty and 662 staff vaccinated.
“Only students who physically access our campuses are required to comply with the vaccine mandate,” said Nicole Gaudino, executive director of University Health and Wellness. “For example, students who are enrolled in fully online programs or are only attending classes taught in the distance learning format are excluded from the mandate.”
As of Oct. 6, there were 12 current Covid cases within the Adelphi community, a 0.2 percent positivity rate. Palma said there are 41 people in quarantine, with 39 of them being off campus. These cases are not linked to a community event, said K.C. Rondello, clinical associate professor and a special adviser to the Health and Wellness office. “All of the positive cases in our community members have been sporadic.”
For students who live on campus and are exposed or test positive, the university has designated rooms as well as private bathrooms for them to quarantine in, said Gaudino. “The students are able to select their meals and all meals are delivered in a contactless method. Additionally both telehealth medical and student counseling services are available to quarantined students at all times in conjunction with a robust program of virtual student engagement activities.”
Adelphi is also continuing to promote the importance of flu vaccines because the flu also presents a threat to our community.
“Given the continued threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are advising everyone who can get their flu vaccination by the end of October,” Palma said.
To assist in this process, Adelphi is once again offering free flu vaccines in conjunction with CVS Pharmacy. Appointments are available Tuesday, Oct. 19 by appointment only. The vaccines will be administered by CVS Pharmacy staff at the Angello Alumni House on campus.
If you have any questions or concerns about Adelphi’s free flu vaccine program, visit the Flu Vaccination Advisory online or reach out to the University Health and Wellness team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Adelphi Health Services at 516-877-6000.
Although the future of this pandemic is still unclear, Palma said, “We are delighted to see our students engaged again throughout campus. The safety of our community is our highest priority, especially during a pandemic. Our Health and Wellness professionals have put into place safety protocols that permit student meetings, concerts, sporting events and other activities on campus. The mitigation steps that have been put into place have proven effective throughout the pandemic.”
This fall, Palma added, three-quarters of our coursework have in-person components and a quarter is online.
First-year theater tech major Cat Farrell said although they don’t have a lot of online classes, “Zoom has been really helpful because, now that we have access to online platforms, it allows more flexibility if something happens and I cannot make it to campus to be in person for a class.”
However, Farrell said that some of the protocol has been a little confusing. “The temperature check ins are really random and all over the place and sometimes I am not sure if I need to show the public safety staff my Covid clearance when entering buildings.”
To mitigate some confusion that many students have expressed, Rondello explained, “Thermal scanners have been installed at strategic locations around campus to provide an additional layer of protection as part of our comprehensive Covid-19 mitigation plan. Any member of the campus community can utilize the tool to quickly and discreetly check their body temperature. In these circumstances, the use of the scanners is not mandatory.”
At other times and places, Rondello said, such as during “high-attendance events or when members of the general public are invited to an event on campus, the thermal scanners are used to screen all individuals as a condition of entry. When utilized for this purpose, use of the scanners is required and the equipment is continually monitored.”
The Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing, but Adelphi is making strides towards normalcy and a return of in-person classes and events for its students to gain the most out of their college experience.