Mikaela Wegner– Staff Writer
Zero, zero, zero, zero … Dordt’s COVID-19 communication page reported no cases during the first week of the spring semester. It’s now March, week eight of the semester, and the highest number of reported active cases has been four. This is an improvement from the same point of the semester last October, when Dordt sat on the tail end of a spike with 35 cases.
Robert Taylor, vice president for student success and dean of students at Dordt University, says people naturally are getting excited that cases are down, hoping then to see things change and go back to normal.
“We’re all sick of it,” Taylor said.
Dordt has made various steps towards protecting the campus community this semester. One of which has been addressing a major point of infection: dining areas. Large, loud air purifiers are in all eating areas on campus. According to Taylor, the machines will “literally kill the virus if it’s in the air.”
Despite this progress, Taylor said he does not know if anyone can explain why numbers are so low, both on Dordt’s campus and within Sioux County.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Taylor. “Even though we all want to be.”
Taylor hopes Dordt will know more about the new variant’s impact in the next four to six weeks. Dordt will then follow the CDC’s instructions on how to move forward. At the beginning of the year Dordt promised the campus community that it as an institution will follow the guidelines of local health experts.
Every time Dordt has made a move to lighten safety protocols “We’ve heard very loudly, and very privately, from people who don’t want to see that happen.” Taylor said.
The students of Dordt are divided about how to react to the virus and resulting safety protocols, which Taylor believes makes sense, as it mirrors the rest of the U.S.
As soon as the CDC begins lifting restrictions, Taylor said Dordt will quickly follow. If future statistics show the new variants are not playing a role in the spread, there will likely be different guidelines than there are now.
There is still currently the risk of another wave occurring. If that happens, Taylor says Dordt will have to “double down.”
“And when I say that I don’t mean doing even more,” Taylor said, “What more could we do?”
In the end, Taylor said students have to come back to the covenant they agreed to at the beginning of the school year.
“We don’t want to live in fear,” Taylor said. “But we want to respect the reality of what this is.”