Many Elon University students enter the school year with symptoms of illness as COVID-19 and flu cases increase throughout the state.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has seen a spike in respiratory virus hospitalizations, with a 1% increase from the start of the school year, from 5.6% to 6.6%. Elon University Health Services no longer tracks cases as the state no longer needs them to be reported to NCDHHS, according to Elon’s Medical Director and University Physician Ginette Archinal.
Sophomore Lathan Rubant said he had plans set with his friends when he tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 31.
“These past few weeks have been very fast-paced,” Rubant said. “It’s been very busy so COVID was kind of a little relief. My body was really saying, ‘Take a break for a minute.’”
Elon Health still has guidelines set up for those feeling ill on campus to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible. Students are encouraged to stay in their living areas and speak to staff on their health status based on current CDC guidelines.
Archinal said students who start to feel sick should take the proper precautions.
“If someone starts feeling ill – do a home COVID test, take over-the-counter cough and cold medications, wear a mask when in class and around other people,” Archinal said. “If you have a fever, aren’t getting better, or just want to be checked, schedule an appointment at student health or do a telehealth visit with TimelyCare.”
Alamance County reported on CovidActNow.org, an initiative that helps communities stay up-to-date on COVID-19 data, that 4.5% of patients in medical center beds in the area are diagnosed with COVID as of Aug. 26.
Rubant’s roommate and sophomore Bunny Ingram said students who test positive COVID-19 may go to class but are recommended to wear a mask for 10 days. However, some find themselves in gray areas as they are exposed to the illness, but do not want to possibly spread more.
Ingram is one of those students at a loss.
“No one is making accommodations for needing to stay in the dorm,” Ingram said.
Ingram said that having the option of choosing to join a virtual classroom was convenient when students were sick during the peak of the pandemic, but removing that option now introduces new struggles.
Vice President of Student Life Jon Dooley wrote in an email to the university community before the school year on July 10 detailing what measures people on-campus should take as flu season approaches. According to Dooley, COVID-19 and flu shot clinics will be held later in the semester, which will allow students to receive injections if they would like. More information can be found under “Campus Health Status and Alerts” on the Elon University website.
“Elon will continue to support the university community in slowing the spread of viruses on campus,” Dooley wrote. “The Infectious Disease Response Team will continue to meet regularly to monitor campus conditions and offer recommendations for action, as needed.”