Living and Learning during COVID-19
There have been recent findings of new COVID-19 strains that could possibly be more dangerous. Whether the vaccination will work on this new strain is still being researched. This new strain is prominent in the UK and South Africa and is said to be more contagious than the strain that has been in the U.S. since March. Many countries in Europe as well as in Asia have been able to start vaccinating their citizens.
Africa has been having a problem of feeling left behind as other countries with more economic stability are able to give their citizens vaccinations. I think that it is important for powerful countries with the vaccine to vaccinate their citizens but also to help countries in Africa because we will never be able to be “COVID free” without assisting them.
The vaccine is being distributed throughout the U.S. We have recently passed 450,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Luckily, we have been on a steady decrease of daily new cases for about the past month. Healthcare workers have been able to get their vaccinations for the most part. Now elderly people, people with immune compromises and essential workers are starting to get their vaccines. This process varied by what state and county you reside in.
In Maryland, the process of getting the vaccine depends on what county you live in. Some counties are vaccinating group 1C while other counties are still working on making sure that all of group 1B the vaccine. Regardless of where you live, it can be extremely difficult to sign up for an appointment. There are limited appointments compared to all the people who need to be vaccinated and these appointments go quick. One of the easiest ways to sign up is online but that can come with some technical difficulties. I think this process is necessary but can be difficult and confusing especially for those who qualify to get that vaccine for their age.
According to the Mount’s COVID-19 dashboard, we currently have nine student cases and one employee case. Our current level is one, which means there is a low level of concern and cases are able to be maintained. This semester looks very similar to last semester in terms of COVID-19 regulations--masks must be worn on campus, social distancing is mandated and students and professors have the ability to learn or teach remotely.
Many teachers have created blue and gold groups for their students to provide a safe learning environment. Students come in on their assigned group days to maintain social distancing but still be able to attend classes in person. I feel extremely lucky to be able to have classes in person. Classes in person make learning feel like an aspect of life that can be considered almost back to normal.