Good job La Salle. Seriously.
News went out to the student body yesterday afternoon that residential students can now “host enrolled non-residential (commuter) students” in their on-campus housing. Is this a great idea immediately following La Salle Halloweekend? Updated COVID numbers next week will have to answer that. But is it a breath of fresh air for much of the community? Absolutely.
Over 1,400 students in the La Salle community live at home or off campus, and finally being able to sit down to connect with their peers is a major get for the commuter community, but this is a sign of something bigger.
According to La Salle’s COVID-19 Dashboard, the La Salle community, including on-campus students, off-campus students and employees, has had less than 10 cases of COVID-19 identified weekly for the entire month of October. At the time of writing, there are nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 at La Salle with 100 percent of quarantine housing available. We are doing extremely well.
There have been no significant outbreaks or case spikes in the La Salle community since the first weeks of in-person instruction, which was effectively controlled and mitigated by the transition to online learning for one week. In fact, since said outbreak, the largest spike in cases has been 10 cases that popped between Sept. 9 and Sept. 14. We think the La Salle University COVID Response Team, Contact Tracing Team and other student health and wellness groups that have been collaborating to keep us safe deserve a pat on the back, and want to thank them for allowing us a return to some form of normalcy.
A full return to how things used to be pre-pandemic is still incredibly far away, make no mistake about that, but things are trending in a good direction.
With that said…
We cannot begin to lapse in our care of pandemic-related protocols. We have seen an increased number of students, faculty and professors playing fast and loose with the rules regarding mask wearing and social distancing in the classrooms and we have seen people attending large, maskless social gatherings with strangers that may or may not be COVID safe.
The La Salle community is around 94 percent in terms of full vaccination, but as is known all too well now from outbreaks all around Philadelphia, a vaccination card does not double as a get out of jail free card. While the Halloween Reminders for Students video published by the university to help mitigate Halloween spread was attempting to appeal to the general campus audience, those who were already planning to wear a mask and social distance did not need to hear it again.
While it is important to reinforce safe practices in the Lasallians that care about the health and wellbeing of others, we need even more importantly to change the attitudes and behaviors of those that might not care so much. Most important of these: professors. If a student who may feel negatively about mask-wearing sees their professor wearing their mask below their nose or not at all, that is all the go ahead they need to stop caring completely.
Make sure to maintain your convictions on keeping the community healthy. If you see someone, even a professor or faculty member, breaking COVID regulations that make you feel unsafe, make sure to tell them, or tell someone else. As Lasallians we are meant to have respect for all persons, and simply asking someone to put their mask on is not a sign of disrespect, but refusing to acknowledge the discomfort of others in this stressful time is absolutely unacceptable.
We all see the milestones ahead of us: non-student visitors coming in, St. Basil’s opening back up for housing, Treetops Cafe reopening, fully in-person instruction, and eventually, saying goodbye to masks. We all know that it will take a long time to finally reach these milestones, but the fact that we are where we are now fills us at the Collegian with hope that if we all keep up our efforts and keep these goals in mind, we will get there with ease.
—— The Editorial Board