University COVID cases on the rise

University COVID cases on the rise

Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

Aug. 26, Winona State University announced 20 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 within the university community, with numbers spiking since then.

Winona State created a daily COVID health assessment that must be taken in order to access on-campus activities and ways to continue classes for those having to quarantine or self-isolate during the semester.

First year student Ireland Broadwater, majoring in cellular and molecular biology, said she appreciates how the university administrators are trying to keep campus safe.

The school has signs and floor stickers reminding students to maintain social distancing policies around campus. When these policies are not observed, there are people walking around campus who try to stop those who are noncompliant.

While social distancing is encouraged for all students, it is more difficult when living with roommates, according to the Winona State Ask-A-Nurse line.

Stated by the Winona State Ask-A-Nurse line, if one roommate tests positive or shows symptoms of COVID-19, the infected roommate needs to self-isolate while the rest of the roommates need to quarantine.

While most residence halls are now single rooms, some dorms like Haake and Kirkland still have students sharing spaces like bathrooms and common areas, which can make self-isolation difficult.

Some Winona State students have mixed opinions on COVID and safety measures on campus.

“If someone had COVID-19 with roommates, it would obviously affect those roommates,” said first year nursing student Samantha Pretasky. “But, if all of them actually quarantine and wore their mask, they wouldn’t have problems,” Pretasky said.

Nursing major Emily Vukas said that despite safety measures on campus, she fears being sent home from a COVID outbreak.

“I fear that [Winona State] might shut down, but I hope that it doesn’t,” Vukas said. “I hope to get past [the pandemic] as soon as possible.”

 Other students fear how seriously others are taking the threat of being sent home if the positive cases in Winona continue to rise.

I think most students are taking COVID very seriously,” Broadwater said. “However, there are a decent amount of people who do not take precautions. The students could do better.”

Vukas believes people wanting to socialize and explore Winona may override their desire to stay safe.

“We all know there’s a risk, but people are still going to go out and be social at the end of the day,” Vukas said.

Vukas also believes that the measures in place are merely there to slow the spread of COVID, not stop it entirely.

“I think that there’s nothing we can do to stop it, everyone will eventually get COVID, it’s just a matter of when,” Vukas said. “Social distancing will help slow it down, but it won’t go away any time soon so we should just make the best of it.”

While Pretasky believes wearing a mask is the most important thing to do to slow the spread, Broadwater wants more accountability for students.

We should just all hold ourselves more accountable to the standards Winona State expects us to,” Broadwater said. “Everybody should be taking the daily COVID screening and answering it honestly. We should be social distancing and wearing our masks. We just need to have more respect for our peers and staff members.”

Since the end of August, cases have continued to rise in Winona and on Winona State’s campus, leading to the university’s self-imposed quarantine.