Drew’s continued work to keep The Forest healthy and COVID-19 free this semester has resulted in positive feedback from students and professors. The Drew community has taken precautionary measures to promote a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.
During this hybrid semester, students and faculty coming to campus have been asked to follow various regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All individuals on campus are required to wear a mask in any public setting and maintain social distancing. The University has partnered with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center to conduct bi-weekly testing for all residential students. Ten percent of the non-residential community, which includes commuters, faculty and staff are tested every week. To complete testing in an orderly fashion and maintain social distancing, patients are asked to fill out the Covid-19 Surveillance Testing Calendar and arrive promptly at their testing time. Test results can be accessed on the Bergen New Bridge Health Online Patient Portal within a few days of the test date.
Multiple students and faculty members expressed their concerns accessing their results. Professor Sandra Jamieson of the English Department was initially blocked from the portal after trying to access it numerous times. Similarly, many students stated they were not able to access their portal results for weeks. Shannon Mills (‘23) said, “I did not access my first results for two weeks, but I do think that Drew is doing a better job advertising how to get on the portal now.” Patients must be registered through the The Bergen New Bridge Medical Center system in order to receive an access link to their health portal. Further questions on how to access the health portal can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The COVID-19 Dashboard, which can be accessed under the COVID-19 information and updates section on the Drew website, is updated twice weekly from the results collected. The dashboard displays the results for students and employees who are currently living or coming to campus, it does not include those who are completely remote and do not come to campus. The data presents how many current active cases are on campus, the amount of total resolved cases, positive tests received, and the total number of tests conducted on campus. Health Services has also established color-coded result levels which indicate the current status that the University is in during the pandemic. Determined by the result of positive cases on campus and the occupancy of isolation and quarantine spaces, the campus performs certain measures at each level. The campus alert levels include: the green (COVID normal) level, the yellow (low alert) level, the orange (medium alert) level and the red (high alert) level. For more information on the campus alert levels and to view the current status level, visit the COVID-19 Dashboard page.
Students expressed their relief regarding Drew’s timeliness communicating positive test results. “I got the call 2 hours after my friend tested positive,” said Mills after having been exposed to a positive case but testing negative herself. “They were good about keeping up with it, even though I was going home for quarantine they made sure I was going to a safe place.” Additionally, Eli Hatcher (‘23), also required to quarantine, felt that the situation was handled safely and efficiently.
Students and faculty attending in-person classes are asked to wipe down their desk surfaces before each class and to avoid coming to class if they are experiencing any symptoms. “All my classes are in-person and I have not seen one instance when someone was not wearing a mask. I also see students wipe down their desks and everyone is generally respectful,” said Kiersten Greiner (‘23). Overall, Greiner feels comfortable going to her in-person classes and rarely feels at risk around her peers while in class.
“I feel safer in the classroom than I do in the grocery store,” said Prof. Jamieson. Prof. Jamieson expressed how her students make her feel safe while in the classroom.“Everyone walks in and they clean their surface area, and when they leave they clean their area again for the next person,” she said. “Everytime I see my students doing that, it makes me feel safe.”
In regards to hybrid classes throughout this semester, Prof. Jamieson highlighted the faculty’s ability to work together and tackle the world of hybrid learning. “We leave each other notes of what works and what didn’t work,” said Prof. Jamieson. “It is lovely working with a faculty that is willing to try things and share ideas.” Prof. Jamieson expressed that she enjoys being back on campus and being able to experience some of the energy of being back in the classroom.
More information about how Drew is handling COVID-19 and updates can be found on the Drew website, under the COVID-19 Information and Updates section.