Covid-19 is back on our campus, and has become substantially endemic within the United States. This brings us to an interesting juncture: An illness that we long considered distinct from all others — a totally different, uniquely scary plague — has become, well, just another resurgent malady.
It strikes us that the measures we demand as Covid-19 waxes and wanes in our lives are the exact same precautions we should have always expected regarding illness in general.
As an Editorial Board, we’ve written on Covid-19 — and Harvard’s response to it — a lot. Like, a whole lot. So rather than inundate you with more heavy-handed editorial flourish, we’d like to share eight brief, no-nonsense tips that we can all follow to keep our campus safe — during the current surge in Covid-19 cases and beyond.
1. Think twice before you share that red solo cup.
Maybe think a third time, if you still decided yes after thinking twice. A pong tournament is never worth a clogged sinus two days later.
2. Your health is going south? Cover that mouth!
As a community, we should display common courtesy by keeping each other safe and healthy to the best of our abilities. Choosing to mask when sick is an act of care for others, and masking in public places should never be frowned upon.
3. Hey professors, believe us!
We shouldn’t need to procure a doctor’s note to miss class when we are ill. Requiring one only creates another barrier to staying home when sick, and may result in more students spreading Covid-19 around campus.
A deep culture of overwork already exists at Harvard, and professors can help alleviate this toxic culture by believing students who say they are ill. Explicit sick policies should be included on all syllabi, and there must be options for students with illnesses to catch up in a reasonable manner. If students choose to abuse these policies, it will be a loss to their own personal learning and growth.
4. Wash your hands for longer than the time it took to read this sentence.
Okay, this is a fourth grade sanitary procedure. We got this. If you need more explicit guidance on how long to wash, try singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while your hands are under the faucet.
5. Oh, you’re feeling deathly ill? Maybe that darty isn’t a great idea.
Come on, what would your mother say?
6. Harvard, give us back our HEPA filters!
Seriously — did they all get thrown in the garbage after we left last year? Air filters in rooms were a positive development for campus health and safety. Now that Covid-19 is becoming endemic (along with a whole host of other flu-adjacent maladies), the filters are more important than ever.
7. If you feel compelled to, test!
If you feel sick, take a test to make sure you don’t spread infectious illnesses to your peers and the rest of the campus community. As for Harvard, continuing to offer students free and easy access to Covid-19 tests should be an obvious policy to keep campus healthy.
8. Harvard administration: Ensure support for immunocompromised students.
If an immunocompromised student’s roommate tests positive for Covid-19, Harvard must have a viable alternative lodging plan — one that doesn’t require crashing on a charitable friend’s couch for a week to avoid exposure in shared dorm spaces.
After three years of shifting variables and complex policies regarding Covid-19, we’ve tried to keep our advice simple. As Covid-19 continues to weave in and out of our lives, the bottom line remains clear: The onus is on us — administrators, faculty, and students — to keep each other safe.
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.
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