COVID-19 cases on campus continue to increase

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A few weeks ago, The Yellow Jacket reported on the Keep Waynesburg Well Team’s efforts towards “pre-pandemic normalcy.” This “normalcy,” however, may have to wait.

This past week, the amount of confirmed cases on campus recorded thus far for Spring semester surpassed that of Fall semester. 

During the Fall semester, Aug. 9 to Dec. 5, Waynesburg recorded on its website 63 confirmed cases on campus. 

From the beginning of this semester, Waynesburg recorded 67 confirmed cases on campus since Jan. 11. This number was last updated April 2, and is a significant spike since The Yellow Jacket last reported 37 campus cases as of March 5.

With three weeks left of the semester, the KWW Team is assessing and adjusting the KWW policies to achieve their goals.

“Our goals still include finishing the semester in person, offering commencement on site and avoiding a lockdown like some other institutions,” Stacey Brodak, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, said in an email. 

The success of these goals, Brodak said, is reliant on the cooperation of students. 

“Our continued success relies on each individual’s continued diligence in accepting responsibility for their own health and safety and acting in a manner that demonstrates respect and consideration for those around them,” Brodak said.

Recently, Waynesburg had to postpone and cancel a number of events and activities because of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, one of which included the Spring Play, “Doublewide, Texas.”

“We were able to perform opening night,” Edward Powers, Director of Theater, said in an email. “The next day, Thursday, March 25, we received news that two of our company had to be quarantined. Because we didn’t have replacement personnel, we had to cancel Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.”

For the remainder of the performances, Powers said they made their live-stream of the opening night performance available to ticket holders. 

Following the cancellation of these activities, President Douglas Lee addressed the University in a campus-wide email Tuesday, March 30. The email discussed how the KWW Team and administration will address the recent uptick in cases.

“After Easter break, we will be conducting additional COVID-19 testing,” President Lee wrote in the email. “If cases increase following Easter Break, we will … adjust residence hall and on-campus visitation policies to limit visitors permitted in rooms and increase enforcement of Code of Conduct Policies.” 

Brodak clarified these strategies and the future actions of the KWW Team in her email statement.

“Other than the residence hall policies, we don’t anticipate changes, but rather, increased enforcement of the existing policies,” Brodak said. “However, if we have an increase in cases, we will consider appropriate changes to the visitation policies.” 

Even though there has been an increase in cases on campus and across the country, Brodak said there is good news.

“The good news is that Fine Arts is planning to host encore performances of the play this week, and last week we had no new confirmed cases on campus,” she said.

As President Lee said in his campus-email, “We may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have to persist, to journey on.”