COVID on Campus

Celebrating Fall Break during a pandemic

Oludare Obadiya

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The news column “COVID on campus” posts relevant COVID-19 news every week for UWEC students.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, UW-Eau Claire students and faculty are only a few steps away from their first small break in another COVID-19 affected semester. 

The majority of UW-Eau Claire students have received the vaccine. As of Friday, Nov. 12, the vaccination rate among students is 82.5% coming to a total of 7,816 students, according to the UW-Eau Claire COVID Dashboard.

The COVID-19 Dashboard also showed that as of Nov. 12 there were 96 COVID-19 tests administered to on-campus students, all of which came back negative. However, one out of 119 COVID-19 tests of off-campus students were positive.

When looking at faculty numbers, there were 14 who got tested and all came back negative. 

In Eau Claire County, the percentage of residents vaccinated has been gradually increasing beyond the 50th percentile for the past several weeks. As of Nov. 12, the county has reached a 55.8% vaccine rate, according to the Eau Claire City-County COVID-19 Situation Report.

The report also shows that the vaccination rate of the entire state of Wisconsin is 55.3%. 

With the holidays around the corner many students will be returning home, something that carries more weight during a pandemic. 

Lauren Maccoux, a second-year elementary education student, said she is one of many students going home for fall break in about a week. 

“Though not as much as last year, I am still a little concerned, especially with people having big gatherings and stuff like that,” Maccoux said.  

The Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends that people avoid large gatherings in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

A large gathering is described as an event that brings together many people from multiple households in a private or public space. Often they involve long distance travel and lodging. 

The CDC also provided examples of risk factors that increase the chance of COVID-19 spreading at a small or large gathering. Some examples of risk include whether the event is held indoors or not, the exposure the attendees experienced during travel and the length of the event. 

Elizabeth Grenzow, a fourth-year business management student, and Carter Tierney, a third-year psychology student, are two more students who also said they will be going home for the holidays.

“I guess I’m less worried about it this year than I was last year, knowing that more people are vaccinated this time,” Grenzow said. 

Vaccines are an important tool in ending, or at least slowing down, the pandemic, according to the CDC’s website. While they were not available at this time last year, many students still traveled across the midwest to be with family for the holidays. 

“I’m only seeing my immediate family, and everyone in my immediate family is vaccinated so I’m definitely not as worried as I was last year,” Tierney said.

According to the CDC, the vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19, there is still the possibility of getting sick. Vaccinated or not, the CDC still recommends that safety guidelines are followed. 

For more information on the Vaccine and COVID-19 as a whole, you can visit the Center for Disease Control website. 

Obadiya can be reached at [email protected]