Tue. Oct 20th, 2020

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW reports low rate of transmission of COVID-19, substantial compliance with health guidelines

3 min read

Since the campus reopened, most UMW students and faculty have been complying with MMDC protocols. | umw.edu

JENNIFER GLAZEBROOK

Staff Writer

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that students were encouraged to use cups with straws rather than screw-on lids. This is not true and has been removed.

UMW reported 10 positive COVID-19 cases as of Monday, Sept. 21., with an average of 0.86 new cases per day over a seven day period.

Students and staff have been mostly complying with mask, monitor, distance, and clean (MMDC) guidelines, according to their peers. among their peers, who, for the most part, have been wearing masks and cleaning their areas after use. MMDC was created based on the guidelines given by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

“We have been preparing for this since we realized this was going to be a long-term situation,” said Anna Billingsley, associate vice president of University Relations. “We had people working all through the summer trying to figure out what kind of messaging, where signs would be going and how to handle protocols.”

Before returning to campus, both students and staff were asked to complete a COVID-19 training module and sign the Mary Washington pledge. While on campus, students are required to monitor their own symptoms and fill out the daily symptoms journal sent to their student email each morning.

“We want individuals to be able to engage, but engage while taking MMDC seriously, because that is the way we are going to make it through the semester,” said Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life.

MMDC encourages activities such as wearing a mask, wiping down your surfaces after use, and socially distancing from others, all of which will help towards the success of Mary Washington for the Fall 2020 semester. Along with wearing a mask on-campus, students and staff are encouraged to protect themselves off-campus as well by continuing to social distance and wearing a mask.

Students can be provided with a mask free of charge by visiting the information desk at the University Center or the information desk at the Hurley Convergence Center. Students can also find a student ambassador and get a mask from them if needed. The bookstore has UMW logo masks for purchase as well. 

Students report that their peers have been known to remind others about cleaning and mask wearing, even reporting others for not following social distancing guidelines.

“For the most part I have seen everybody wearing masks,” said senior psychology major Angie Cherikos. “In terms of social gatherings and what not, it is kind of a hit or miss. A lot of people seem to be really careful about it or really not.”

Refusal to follow protocol can lead to repercussions such as honor code violations, removal from University of Mary Washington housing, suspension, or expulsion. The only exceptions to not adhering to the protocol are when eating or drinking. Students are encouraged to speak up when they see others not following protocol. 

“It is not just about protecting the individual self. This is a community. We are not only part of a campus community, we are part of the greater Fredericksburg community as well,” said Rucker. “It is important we be conscientious of the impact we have on the broader community.” 

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