RWU remains ahead of the curve

Maddi Royle, Op-Ed Writer

The very present COVID-19 pandemic has altered the education of millions around the country, particularly college students. While many universities chose to strictly provide online classes, there are some that chose to go with a hybrid approach, with Roger Williams University being one of them. While the students here at RWU are excited to be back on campus, we owe the university for the opportunity. Without the instantaneous response to COVID-19, which included strict guidelines and health protocols, I am confident we would be in a comparable position to those at much larger universities, such as James Madison University, which was recently required to send home its entire student body after 2,238 individuals received positive test results.

After being on campus for some time now, I have come to my own conclusion that there seems to be a correlation between the drastic increase in the number of positive cases at larger universities and a lack of COVID-19 policies.

New Jersey was initially one of the states hit hardest by the virus. Rowan University in New Jersey does not require weekly or even monthly testing, and the university has an undergraduate population of over 16,000 students. My younger brother, a freshman at Rowan, wasn’t required to get a COVID-19 test or fill out any sort of screening form before moving in. When researching information on Rowan’s COVID policies, I found a hefty PDF where the reason for not testing students was listed as follows: “Because universal, frequent testing for all is not practical, not based in science and not feasible in terms of available resources.”

As an older sister, I didn’t necessarily love hearing this statement. At RWU, where there are between 4,000 and 5,000 undergraduate students, more than 27,000 tests have been administered. Repeated testing certainly seems doable.

Outside of testing, RWU also implemented changes such as air filters being switched from MERV 8 to MERV 13 to improve air quality, enforcing a 15 person gathering limit, nightly deep cleans by facilities staff, take-out only dining halls and most importantly, they have imposed a mask-on policy at all times besides in your own dorm room.

These policies seemed overbearing at first. However, after seeing video footage of thousands of students at the University of Alabama and Florida State University who weren’t social distancing and didn’t have masks on, which led to reports of more than 2,300 and 1,200 cases respectively, I have been thankful for all our policies as I hope to close out my senior year on campus.