The Editorial Board commends the University on its robust response to the recent outbreak of Norovirus within the campus community.
Rather than marginalize the issue or attempt to downplay it, the administration has been extremely forthcoming in their efforts to both treat afflicted students and disseminate helpful information to others. It is encouraging to see the administration so forcefully counteract a legitimate danger to students in an efficient and timely matter, and it should reassure students to see such a quick response.
As of the writing of this article, the University has sent four emails—one per day—since the virus began to spread, each one complete with relevant updates and straightforward assessments of the situation. Each email contains helpful information for students about how to prevent becoming sick themselves—or, if they are already sick, how to proceed. We encourage students to take heed of these recommendations.
It is clear that the University is concerned with controlling this outbreak and keeping the school running. Failure to deal with this particular virus in a timely and effective manner can leave the student body afflicted for months. In light of this outbreak, all hands have been on deck—even the Executive Director of Residential Life and Housing Services, Laurel Contomanolis, passed out chlorinated wipes in residence halls.
Are we to cancel classes when a cold makes its rounds every year? Granted, this is worse than a cold, but illnesses happen, and the school is clearly doing everything in their power to eradicate the virus and educate students on keeping themselves healthy. Especially given the earlier demands to cancel classes on a snowy day when any on-campus student could’ve gotten to class, the petition seems petty, and devalues the forum.
To us, the petition seems like another case of complaining when the choice is clear: if you are concerned about getting sick, just don’t go to class. University Health Service officials have encouraged faculty to curtail mandatory attendance policies in the face of the outbreak, but it is baffling that students who skip class to sleep in would raise such a stink to lend legitimacy to their absences. In the future, students should more critically evaluate their petitions before submitting them for review.