Since the semester began, changes around campus have been more than noticeable, but some—especially for students who ignore their emails—have come in more nuanced forms.
One of these changes are the daily COVID check-ins that appear in students’ emails. The purpose of these daily updates is to keep students who are worried about contracting COVID or just those that are curious in the loop about cases that pop up around campus.
“The reason we started doing the notifications was kind of to provide a source of comfort and clarity for people who are panicking,” Rachel Coleman, executive director of marketing and public relations, said.
If anyone who comes on campus reports symptoms or contracts the virus, they are expected to fill out an online form and report their symptoms to the college. The form asks questions relating to contact with other individuals to see who else has been exposed to the virus. All that feeds into daily reports that are sent out to students.
“We ask them the last time they were on campus, the classes that they were in, we ask them to identify whether they were seated a distance spread out [from everyone]… and if everyone were wearing masks,” Luke Dowell, vice-president of academic affairs, said.
Even when a student or someone visiting the college contracts COVID, that doesn’t mean classrooms, or the school in general have to go completely remote. If everyone follows state and county guidelines, classes can continue uninterrupted.
“If the students in the class are spread out and socially distanced … and also wearing masks, then even if there’s a positive case that was in that classroom, everyone else in there is not considered a close contact,” Dowell said.
So, when a student comes across a confirmed case on campus, there should be little concern so long that everyone is following the rules.
One student, who has grown tired of receiving the emails every day, thinks they would work better in a weekly format rather than daily.
“I think the Daily COVID notifications should be done at the beginning and end of the week if there are no new positive cases on campus,” Jonathan Flores, a sophomore majoring in math, said.
Flores does think an exception should be made when a new case is confirmed and that the school should send out an email to notify students about new cases when they appear.
Another student believes the emails are beneficial to the worries he’s had about COVID and thinks they are adequate to relieving stress related to cases at the college.
“I think they have been helpful in easing my mind on the effect COVID is currently having on SCCC given the fact that cases in Liberal are currently on the rise,” Jerron Kurth, a sophomore majoring in engineering, said.
The notifications require students to be transparent with faculty when they’re feeling sick. So far, students have been honest which contributes to the effectiveness of the notifications. Dowell encouraged students to do their part while teachers and other faculty do their part.
“Every one of us has our part to play, and if just one of us decides not to do [their part], that can really throw it off for everyone else,” Dowell said.