Watching the news has been difficult this summer, from conflicts in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to the horror of American politics, where a Supreme Court decision deprived the American people of the right to make choices about their own bodies. In addition to these regular human rights violations around the world, we are still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic as we fear the next global health emergency: monkeypox. The data shows how far the COVID-19 pandemic is, particularly for the United States, since the The United States remains in the top five for new COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Tufts has eased COVID-19 restrictions and regulations on campus. Even though the vaccination protocols are the same – Tufts requires everyone to be vaccinated and fully upgraded – the isolation and testing policies rely on students a little too much. Early last semester, Tufts required students on campus to test every other day. On May 6, when the finals started last semester, Ciuffi turned to voluntary testing. Now, however, Tufts is offering only symptomatic tests, which means that tests will not be accessible even when a student is tracked down if they have no symptoms.
The reduction in test requirements may be logical, considering that many Tufts students contracted COVID-19 in the spring semester of 2022 and hopefully have immunity for some time. However, some health officials have warned him immunity from getting the newer strains of the omicron COVID-19 variant can only last a month.
Tufts is it also expects students who test positive to isolate themselves in their own rooms, even if they have a roommate. Tufts began having COVID-19 positive students isolate in their own rooms after passing the capacity of the Mods and quarantined hotels last semester. Initially they gave priority to those who lived in double and triple.
Therefore, this isolation policy may be reminiscent of last year’s faulty isolation protocols. This decision may seem unfair to students who are still cautious about COVID-19, as Tufts could maintain or improve The Mods status in order to ensure healthy isolation between friends and roommates. However, most students may be too tired to worry about the ongoing pandemic after years of taking precautions and still feeling the aftermath.
Tufts has also published guidelines in response to the monkeypox outbreak, asking students to be more responsible in isolation and consultation with their doctor. Monkeypox has not been taken as seriously as COVID-19 once was, possibly due to low positive case rates worldwide and because it only becomes infectious when symptoms begin, making the disease easier to contain.
This type of infection is drastically different than COVID-19. Monkeypox is spread “through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact, including direct contact or intimate contact with the rash, scabs, or body fluids of monkeypox of a person with monkeypox,” according to one. email from the Tufts administration, instead of breathing five feet away from a COVID-19 positive individual. The lower risk of spreading monkeypox could, however, lead to higher cases as people begin to relax too much.
Regardless, monkeypox poses a serious threat to college life and college students. Both on-campus and off-campus students should be careful not to share their personal items with other friends, however much they may trust each other. Monkeypox is spread through “direct skin-to-skin contact (sexual / intimate contact, including kissing) … or through contact with an infected individual’s clothing, bedding, towels or other contaminated items”, says Tufts. Therefore, students are encouraged to be more cautious about who is invited to their rooms or which parties they choose to go to. This outbreak, as a result, could limit the social and personal lives of Tufts students and college students around the world.
These health problems and restrictions might seem unnecessary and exaggerated for students who want to be able to attend parties and classes, who want to be able to stay in one in the dorm rooms and see each other out. It’s been a tough two years since COVID-19 started, but we can’t let ourselves fall into complacency and forget to protect ourselves and others.
A great year, hopefully, without COVID-19 and monkeypox in Tufts is waiting for us, but only if we take the necessary precautions. Summer is over; it’s time for the world to start healing and for Tufts students to be healthy and back to campus.