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Opinion: Rise in Student COVID Cases Calls for Better Academic Accommodations

Karley Rhuda 

Staff Writer ‘25 

As we are all aware, COVID cases have been ramping up on campus causing more and more people to be sent home. Daily testing has been implemented and mask mandates are becoming more common in places. Merrimack has made it clear since day one that keeping on-campus cases low is extremely important. However, if it’s so important to the school, why don’t they have a better plan for those who get sent home after testing positive? 10 days of classes must be missed as students “quarantine,” causing extreme levels of stress as students must get caught up on their own. Little to no Zoom links are available for classes since asynchronous learning has been completely thrown out. Why must we as students struggle due to something we can’t control? Setting up Zoom in class is not difficult to do. No attention has to be paid to it; the professor can simply put it on and go about teaching the class. This option should be considered for students that get sent home as they would be able to stay caught up in their classes and not have the thought of missing class haunt them for 10 whole days.

Along with the college having a very vague plan for students that test positive, there has been nothing done about those who have a false positive test. We all know false positives can happen for an array of reasons. However, the college will simply not let you back on campus even if you have gotten several negative tests from surrounding testing sites. According to the school, false positives simply do not exist. They will still make you go home and miss classes for a week. This, to me, makes no sense and seems as though they are setting us up for failure. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be allowed back on campus after testing negative a second, third, or even fourth time. Overall, Merrimack has made it clear that COVID and the health of their students is important to them; for example, we’re required to get weekly tests so we can help keep ourselves and each other safe. However, don’t make students get tested if you have no plan for them. It’s inconsiderate and unfair.