364 test positive for COVID since July ’21


Ansel Adams

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Zack Buster, Associate Editor

364 AACC students, faculty and staff have reported that they tested positive for COVID-19 since July 2021.

Vice President for Learning Resources Management Melissa Beardmore said the number is “relatively small” because until March, the college required students and staff to prove they were vaccinated or had tested negative for COVID-19 each week. A mandate to wear masks inside of campus buildings will end on May 19.

“Comparatively speaking, our numbers have been very low,” said Beardmore, who noted that students accounted for “the bulk” of the positive reports. “Safety has been our North Star. We’ve been more conservative than others, especially in regards to keeping the masks on.”

Since July 2021, when the college began keeping track of campus COVID-19 cases, the numbers fluctuated, peaking at 39 cases the week of Jan. 24.

Positive cases on campus have been in the single digits since February. 

The college requires students who report positive COVID-19 results to quarantine at home until a campus nurse clears them to return to class. 

Beardmore, the administrator in charge of COVID-19 policies on campus, said it’s possible that not everyone who contracted COVID reported it to AACC. 

Second-year English and entrepreneurship student Kasia Olszewski agreed.

“There’s probably a lot of students that haven’t reported it,” Olszewski said. “Like myself for example. I hadn’t gone to the campus, but I had COVID last October and it was never asked of me to … tell people. So I think … that number is only coming from people that did tell [the college].”

Olszewski said this may be the case because some people would feel “embarrassed” or “awkward.”

First-year film student Shawn Thompson said students, staff and faculty could be reluctant to report their test results to AACC because they might “be scared of telling people that they have COVID.”

Beardmore said if COVID-19 cases begin to rise and the Centers for Disease Control once again recommends wearing masks indoors, “that’s probably the lever that we can pull.”

She added that the government-run vaccination clinic on the Arnold campus will stay open until the county decides to close it.