Updated: Nov 17, 2020
While many colleges and universities in North Carolina and across the country had to transition to online-only instruction at some point during the fall semester due to COVID-19, Meredith College has been able to remain open. As of the time of publishing, Meredith only has one active student case of COVID-19. There have been a total of 51 student cases and eight employee cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Updated information about COVID-19 on campus can be found on Meredith’s Staying Strong website.
Recently, three emails were sent out regarding safe practices surrounding the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. The first, signed by President Allen and sent out on Nov. 11, urged students to be safe over the holiday and follow the guidelines issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS). The email also notified students that the Spring 2021 semester’s academic calendar does still include a full spring break. With that being said, Meredith “strongly encourage[s] [students] not to make non-refundable travel plans for spring break. In fact, we strongly discourage any travel over spring break. The College will not be sponsoring any spring break travel.”
The second email, sent on Nov. 13 by the Incident Response Team, alerted students that Meredith will have “a limited number of COVID-19 tests available to resident students” prior to Thanksgiving. The NC DHHS recommends that an individual get screened three to four days prior to their travel, and Meredith is offering their exit tests in an effort to ensure the safety of resident students and their families. Students can sign up on a first come, first served basis using this link. Remember that a negative test is only indicative of your health at the moment you took the test, and even if you test negative you should still wear a mask and socially distance whenever possible.
The final email was sent by Dr. Jean Jackson, Vice President for College Programs, also on Nov. 13. Dr. Jackson reminded students that should they decide that they would like Dean of Students Ann Gleason to notify their professors of their impending absences due to exposure to COVID-19, she will not ask how they were exposed or report them to the Community Standards Task Force. The task force only is called into action for a known Community Standards violation. Meredith is doing its best to ensure that students feel comfortable reporting their exposure or illness without worrying about repercussions, so that the health and safety of the entire community can be maintained.
Update (Nov. 17, 2020): Dr. Mary Johnson, Director of Health Services at Meredith, would like to emphasize that the exit tests being offered through Nov. 20 are rapid antigen tests, which are different than RT-PCR tests, the kind that has been offered at Meredith before. The Nov. 13 email states that rapid antigen tests "perform best when the person has symptoms or is tested in the early stages of infection when viral load is generally highest" and "demonstrate sensitivity around 84 percent compared to PCR." As of this update, there were about 20 spots left for testing before the end of the week. Results are delivered the same day as the test is administered.
By Olivia Slack, Co-Editor in Chief