Caught in the Act project launches at La Salle
Jessica Conk, Staff
On Aug. 14, 2020, La Salle students received communication from the University encouraging them to take the Explorer Promise. Members of the community who took the oath not only promised to wear a mask, follow the physical distance guidelines and wash/sanitize regularly, they promised to take others’ health into consideration every morning prior to coming to campus. Students who are living on campus and experience any COVID-19 symptoms (including fever, cough and shortness of breath) are directed to self-quarantine. La Salle’s administration team recommends letting faculty know when classes are being missed due to symptoms related to COVID-19. Administrators expect to continue to make decisions that will keep our community safe during the remainder of the pandemic.
In an effort to keep the community safe, President Hanycz advised students to stay home if they feel ill, follow capacity limits indoors and avoid large gatherings. However, not only students play a role in keeping our community safe. The return-to-campus plan includes new protocols the University administration is implementing to keep students safe, such as guidelines for testing and identifying positive cases, increased cleaning protocols and instructions for living and dining on campus. In following these protocols, all students were tested before moving in or beginning classes on campus. Areas that are used often, like restrooms, classrooms, residential buildings, dining rooms, entranceways and elevators are cleaned multiple times a day. Over the course of the spring 2021 semester, part of the return-to-campus plan mentions an “Entry and Surveillance” plan, detailing how students will be randomly selected for testing throughout the spring 2021 semester. Since entry testing is complete, La Salle is shifting into the surveillance testing part of the plan. At random, students that are living, working or learning on campus will be selected for testing. La Salle administrators also made the decision to implement a “No Guest Policy” which prevents resident students from having outside individuals in their dormitories. For La Salle to remain open for the entire spring 2021 semester, La Salle’s administration must ensure all COVID-19 protocols are being followed. In addition to the previously listed protocols, community members must wear masks above the nose, keep a minimum six-foot distance between students and sanitize their hands regularly.
The Assistant Vice President of Campus Life Anna Allen created a project that aims to help students better adapt to the changes the administration is enacting. Allen created the “Caught in the Act” project to ensure that Explorers follow the new guidelines. Allen stated, “This project hopes to ‘catch’ students wearing face masks properly, practicing good social distancing and using the hand sanitizer stations.” Everyday there will be student leaders walking the campus to reward students following protocols. If students are comfortable with participating, their picture will be taken and they will be given a coupon that can be used at Starbucks, Union Market or the Outpost. The Caught in the Act project was created to ensure that the La Salle community is not only following the new mandates, but encouraging other members to take part in keeping our community safe. Allen hopes that this project will remind students about the #ExplorersCare slogan that the entire community all have a part in.
Allen mentioned, “Our community is only as strong as what we do when no one is watching.” She recommends giving tips, such as, “Hi, could you put your mask over your nose,” or “Hi could you step back just a little so that we can be properly socially distanced?” If students become noncompliant with the regulations, they could be written up, or La Salle may have to shut down.