EDITORIAL: Brandeis’ early success with curbing the spread of COVID-19 should be met with cautious optimism
Fall 2020 at Brandeis has been and will continue to be a semester like no other in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure the safety of community members while continuing day-to-day operations during this challenging time, the University has adopted a comprehensive list of safety measures. These protocols include but are not limited to hosting most classes and events remotely, building a large-scale, well-maintained frequent testing and daily online health assessment system for everyone on campus, mandatory mask-wearing and physical social distancing.
To date, these measures have proved successful, as the University is staying well below the curve of case numbers relative to population. As of September 6, the positive test rate is 0.03%, and the community is, by-and-large, obeying the rules and guidelines. This board applauds the University for its concrete and well-executed efforts to safely host a semester like no other. However, we also recognize that the school year is young, and our optimism is tempered by the need for caution. That our positivity rate is extremely low right now should not be taken as a permanent success or as justification to relax one's own safety precautions.
Moreover, the very opening and inhabitation of the campus itself presents a possible health risk to the larger Waltham area. This board urges all students and other Brandeis community members to be responsible in their conduct and strictly adhere to safety measures both on and off campus. While comprehensive testing, contact tracing and community social distancing guidelines are an important step in limiting the spread of COVID-19, it is important that we keep ourselves and our community safe. This includes not only our community on campus, but also communities in the greater Waltham and Boston areas. During this time of uncertainty, we must recognize that much is at stake and while we are cautiously optimistic, we must not give way to reckless behavior.