PHOTO BY SARA SHEIKH / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
As cases rose in the Brantford community, Laurier students seem to be not the cause.
At this time, Wilfrid Laurier University has only reported a total of three confirmed cases on the Brantford campus. Out of the three cases announced on the campus so far, two cases have been students and one has been a university staff member.
According to Brant County Health Unit’s official website, Brantford/Brant County has experienced an increase in cases over the course of the last few weeks.
Just like most of Ontario, the cases grew during winter and the holiday season. There was a significant increase of cases especially during Christmas and the New Years.
The health unit’s website reported that 56.61 per cent of cases within the region are transmitted through close contact with a confirmed case. While 24.47 per cent of cases are transmitted through community spread.
Over the past few months, Laurier Brantford has recorded few cases of COVID-19 on campus. The announced cases were announced by the university when the case was confirmed to be positive, and when there was information that showed the individual may have been on campus while they were infectious.
As of Jan. 20, there have been no officially confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brantford campus residences.
Jenn Greene, manager of residence life for the Brantford campus, has noted that different precautions were taken before and after winter break–when cases spiked–to ensure student safety. Prior to winter break, students were encouraged to abide by public health guidelines as they returned home for the holidays.
When the winter term approached and students prepared to return to campus, those who had a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 were required to contact the manager of residence life to let them know of their situation. After completing quarantine off-campus, students were welcomed back to residence.
Greene notes that students in residence in Brantford have been following public health guidelines.
“What’s unique about any university campus is that students sort of live in a bubble. I think for a lot of our students, you know, some are probably just staying in residence, going to the grocery store and going out for walks– things like that,” said Greene.
Throughout the academic year, residence staff have been working to ensure a safe living space for students. Different locations within the residence buildings are sanitized throughout the day, and students are not allowed to bring guests into the building.
“But from what I’ve seen, every time I see a student coming and going, they’re wearing their mask, they’ve got hand-sanitizer–they’re just taking the precautions that are recommended to them by public health and are enforced by the staff here,” said Greene.
Most students are placed on their own in apartments so that there is one bathroom per person, though there are exceptions for students who are comfortable with sharing a bathroom with another person. There are less than one hundred students living in Brantford residences right now.
Devyn Kelly, president and CEO of Students Union, notes that the lack of COVID-19 cases in our community can be attributed to both the precautions taken by the university, as well as Laurier students.
“We’ve seen at some other universities that case numbers are way higher than they are at Laurier, and I would account that 50 percent of that is the students being accountable to their actions, and 50 percent of that is the restrictions that the university as a whole has put in,” said Kelly.
Over the past months, Wilfrid Laurier University has shifted operations to accommodate public health guidelines. For updates regarding the evolving situation with the pandemic, visit the university website.