As the world gets used to life post-2020, health on Seattle Pacific University’s campus has become very important to students as concerns about COVID continue.
COVID is one of the main health issues on campus and has caused unease among students, including Jonathan Savell, a first-year biochemistry major.
“I’m pretty concerned about getting sick, it would make the situation a lot more unsafe if I ever wanted to visit home and would limit my ability to learn,” Savell said.
While there are strict guidelines surrounding COVID safety, people are still becoming infected. There have been 20 COVID cases among students and staff since the beginning of September according to the case tracker put out by Health Services.
For Savell, while overall the guidelines feel appropriate, eating in Gwinn Commons is one of his major concerns.
“Whenever people go to eat in Gwinn, they don’t wear masks because we’re eating, so there’s a large crowd, all without masks and for a long amount of time, so it doesn’t feel particularly safe,” Savell said.
COVID is not the only health concern on campus, but it has created a new attitude around getting sick, according to first-year English literature major Kenzie Chan.
“Even jokingly, any cough or sneeze is all COVID. I feel like I’ve even forgotten the flu exists, because even if it’s a joke or not, you need to get a COVID test,” Chan said.
There are also conversations happening about vaccines and those with vaccine exemptions. For Chan, the vaccine has created a sense of comfort.
“Knowing that so many people are vaccinated takes away a lot of the discomfort around people, because it’s more likely than not that they are vaccinated,” said Chan.
She also is encouraged by the adherence to the rules by students and faculty.
“Everyone I’ve encountered has been pretty good at following rules. Sometimes my peers will put their mask below their nose but all my professors have been really prompt in telling them to put it back up,” Chan said.
Even with the rules in place, students are still vulnerable to getting sick. As flu season approaches, Health Services on campus offers many resources for students to stay healthy, like flu shots and COVID testing. They are available by appointment only for students with health concerns.
There are also options off-campus for students to receive flu shots, the COVID vaccine, and COVID testing. Flu shots are available at Zoomcare in Fremont and Queen Anne, as well as the Queen Anne Safeway.
COVID testing also may be required by Health Services if the student is exhibiting the symptoms. Health Services provides COVID tests as well as resources on their website to find testing locations in King County.
For students concerned about COVID or other health issues, the Health Services website provides many resources for education and a list of services provided so students can feel safe while attending SPU.
COVID has changed learning at SPU, but Chan believes that some of these changes will be better for everyone in the long run.
“Even if my professor just has a cold and not COVID, we can easily go on Zoom that day,” said Chan. “I think we’re a lot more aware of sickness in general now.”