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'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Student Health reports a spike in COVID-19 cases

There have been 77 positive tests at the on-campus clinic since FDOC, and more students may be testing positive at home
WFU/Nick Babladelis ’08
Just over half of the students who have visited Student Health for an upper respiratory infection have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Campus Health Chair Dr. Warrenetta Mann (Courtesy of Wake Forest).

Wake Forest’s College of Arts and Sciences is encouraging faculty to be flexible with attendance in light of an uptick in COVID-19 cases reported by Student Health Service. 

Medical director of Student Health, Dr. Jessica St. John, told faculty there had been an increase in visits to the Student Health clinic where students were complaining of upper respiratory infections. According to Campus Health Chair Dr. Warrenetta Mann, 50 students tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and 27 have tested positive this week.

A Tuesday morning email sent to faculty by Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Dr. Jackie Krasas and Dr. Eric Ashley Hairston, Associate Dean for Academic Advising, said that students may not have documentation from Student Health that some professors require to grant an excused absence due to the limited availability of appointments. They also encourage faculty to be adaptable with course requirements as they might have “unintended consequence of encouraging students to come to class while ill.” 

“A student is acting responsibly and protecting our community when they follow isolation protocols so as not to unnecessarily expose others by attending class,” the message from the two deans reads. “As educators, of course, we all value class attendance. In recent years, we also have increasingly had to factor in the overall health of our community when managing our classroom and policies.” 

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Mann said that slightly more than half of students coming into Student Health for respiratory symptoms are testing positive for COVID-19. 

“Based on previous semesters, we anticipate these numbers will start trending down over the next two weeks,” Mann said. “However, respiratory illnesses, including RSV, flu and strep will remain an active issue in our community throughout the fall. We should all be doing all we can to stay safe.”

Vice President for Campus Life Shea Kidd Brown told the Old Gold & Black that the numbers collected by Student Health may not be entirely accurate because some students do not test at the clinic. 

“Student Health tracks student cases for those who test positive at the clinic,” Kidd Brown said. “However, given that students may be treated off-campus or self-test, the numbers tracked by SHS may not provide a holistic view of the respiratory illnesses within the community.

The letter says that only students who are “severely ill” should make an appointment, and all others are advised to follow the “healthy habits” guideline shared by Student Health at the beginning of the semester. St. John noted that faculty should work with students and allow them to complete missing assignments as they recover from home. 

Some professors are choosing to mask while teaching or transition class to Zoom if they or multiple students test positive for the virus. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a five-day isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19. After five days, individuals can end their isolation period if their symptoms have disappeared or if they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication. Regardless of when isolation concludes, the CDC recommends that individuals wear a mask when indoors or around other people until at least 11 days after showing symptoms. 

Masks are currently not for sale at POD store across campus, nor are COVID-19 tests. According to Mann, masks are limited to one-per-student at Student Health and self-testing kits are available at local pharmacies. Approximately 750 self-testing kits were distributed by Student Health at a recent resource fair during New Deac Week.

According to the Student Health website, students who test positive for COVID-19 are allowed to isolate in their residence hall “with the help of campus resources” or travel to another location to complete their isolation period at their own expense. Students who are at “increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19” have the option to temporarily relocate to another room if their roommate on campus tests positive for COVID-19.

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Maddie Stopyra
Maddie Stopyra, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie is a junior from Rural Hall, N.C. majoring in English and minoring in journalism and psychology. Outside of the OGB, she is also a member of the campus a cappella group Minor Variation. In her free time, you can find her reading novels and going to coffee shops with friends.
Christa Dutton
Christa Dutton, Editor-in-Chief
Christa is a junior from Raleigh, North Carolina, majoring English and minoring in journalism and communication. She spends her free time reading, running while listening to podcasts, watching "Survivor" and grabbing coffee with her friends.

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