As students prepare for the close of the fall semester and are scheduling their trips home, USD doesn’t anticipate having to make any adjustments for COVID-19 come the spring semester.
Kevin O’Kelley, head of the COVID-19 Taskforce, said while numbers are lower than the university anticipated, it’s important to remember that these cases are not just numbers.
“We did well this semester, but it’s important to remember that every case is not just a number, it’s a sick person,” O’Kelley said. “So, I’d rather it be zero. I don’t want to crow too loudly about only having six people sick when those people are actually sick.”
As of Tuesday, there are nine active self-reported cases of COVID-19 at USD, according to the USD COVID-19 dashboard. USD is prepared to handle an outbreak significantly larger than the 20-plus cases it saw at this fall’s peak.
“We did better than we had planned for,” O’Kelley said. “We planned for a worse semester than we actually had. So that’s a good thing, plan for the worst case and hope for the best and I’d say we did pretty close to the best case we would’ve imagined.”
As the school prepares for the spring semester, students will continue to be encouraged to do what it takes to keep COVID-19 at a minimum.
“We advise people to consider getting vaccinated,” O’Kelley said. “If they are symptomatic, we suggest that you get tested, even if you are vaccinated. Tests now are free and they are widely available.”
USD will continue to hold testing in the Hoy Room of the Muenster University Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily for the remainder of the semester and in the spring.
Last school year, the fall semester had a higher peak that the spring, and O’Kelley said he is anticipating a similar occurrence this spring.
“We’re looking to have a very good spring because we had a good spring last year when COVID-19 was wild,” O’Kelley said. “This year we have many people vaccinated, many people with immunity from having had the disease, so we are anticipating a spring better than last spring.”
Students shouldn’t expect changes when they get back from winter break, O’Kelley said.
“We expect things to be the same when you come back,” O’Kelley said. “Everything will be the same, we’re open for business. We anticipate the spring being better than the autumn as far as the number of cases.”