The weather is beginning to warm up here in Cullowhee and finally melting away all of the wintertime blues but with it comes more risk of contracting Covid-19. Even though the weather is getting warmer and larger groups are congregating don’t forget to keep the Catamounts care policy in mind, after all, covid is not over until everyone is vaccinated.
As the Johnson and Johnson vaccine becomes available to students, we as a community are making strides to banish the threat of covid for the time being. That does not mean, however, that a complete abandonment of the policies that we have already been practicing is in order. The Catamounts Care policy covers a code of conduct that Chancellor Kelli Brown has set forward to keep all students safe from the threat of COVID. The policy includes ways to prevent the spread such as washing your hands properly, practicing physical and social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces often, face coverings are required, show respect to others, and most of all if you are feeling sick stay home. These tactics have been practiced strictly for the whole first semester however as the threat of covid lowers so does our cautious nature toward the deadly virus.
In the past, once the snow melts and the ice thaws on campus it is a time to rejoice and celebrate the incoming warm weather. That can mean anything from hanging up Enos in courtyard to playing spike ball with a group of friends to taking a hike on one of the popular trails around or on campus. With the threat of covid some of these activities have been put on hold but not for everyone. Some students are gathering in large groups to do these same activities regardless of the threat of covid.
In these times it is important to remember to follow the Catamount Care rules because, until everyone is vaccinated the threat of students contracting or spreading covid is still out there. After all, according to the Center for Disease Control or the CDC “The J&J/Janssen vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials (efficacy) at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine. People had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated.” So according to the CDC even though you are vaccinated it has the possibility of only being 66.3 percent effective, so the threat is still out there. Alternatively, the Moderna or the Pfizer Vaccine is 95 percent effective which is more effective but still is not 100 percent. This however does not mean that the student body should not get vaccinated, any percent of invincibility from covid is a step forward.
As the weather begins to warm up students gather in previously unacceptable numbers to enjoy the springtime. In this period of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that even though the student body is making progress to being vaccinated that we keep in mind the safety and wellness of all students. Even though being Covid safe and still having fun outdoors can be challenging there are still plenty of options for fun activities. Though it may be less exciting, it can be worthwhile to spend some time sunning outdoors while still appropriately social distancing. Additionally, some people may also find a solo hike just as fulfilling as one with a group of people!