For the third week in a row, two Brandeis students tested positive for COVID-19. Two weeks ago, we saw our first faculty/staff positive case. Four students are currently in isolation, and 15 of their close contacts are in quarantine (as of press time). Massachusetts health officials announced that Waltham is now a red zone on Wednesday, meaning that we have more than eight cases per 100,000 population per day.
The medical underloads policy should be reevaluated to further encompass the varying circumstances of students
On Oct. 7, University Registrar Mark Hewitt sent an email to the Brandeis community announcing a new change in its medical underloads policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From now on, in addition to full time enrollment options with a minimum of eight credits, students who submit a request for medical underload will have the option to enroll in two classes in summer 2021 at no additional charge. While this board appreciates the initiative that the school has taken, we also believe that more should be done, both in terms of the policy itself and the communication of the decision.
University professors have been working hard to adjust their class structures and systems this semester due to COVID-19. This board appreciates the time and effort that faculty has put into adapting their courses, expectations and communication on behalf of their students. Many instructors have gone above and beyond in ensuring that their students feel supported and are learning effectively. However, there have been discrepancies in students’ experiences and struggles with different classes that need to be addressed.
As Brandeis prepared to open for an unprecedented fall 2020 semester, the University took significant measures to limit the number of students, staff and faculty who contract COVID-19. These measures include rapid frequency testing, daily health assessments and the installment of food ordering apps such as Bite and GET. However, while Brandeis has proved capable of containing the spread of COVID-19 on its campus, there is an area upon which the University and its community can improve — sustainability.
Entering the fall 2020 semester, the University made many changes to ensure the safety of individuals coming to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those changes was the addition of the Bite app. According to the Bite by Sodexo website, this app is a way to avoid lines, see what is available to eat, make a reservation for a time/table and allow for on-the-go ordering. This board would like to critique the app and its use as well as state where changes can be made.
It is no secret that online learning is drastically different from the traditional classroom-based education we took for granted in a pre-COVID-19 world. Although lectures and discussion sections can be approximated with Zoom calls and breakout rooms, many have worried about how to recreate a classroom testing environment remotely, with many colleges and universities turning to online proctor services as the solution. However, these online proctor services — such as Proctorio, ProctorU and Honorlock — violate student privacy and exacerbate existing systems of oppression. This board is grateful that Brandeis has not instituted the use of these proctor services in response to the pandemic, and we call on all educational institutions, including our own, to take a bold stance against these services.
EDITORIAL: Transparency and oversight needed regarding consequences of violating COVID-19 regulations
Since the University announced its reopening plans on June 30, several on-campus offices and departments, including the Department of Community Living, the Office of Student Affairs, the COVID-19 Task Force and the Dean of Students Office, have collaborated to implement a number of mandatory policies to ensure the health and safety of Brandeis students, faculty and staff. The measures—which include social distancing, mask wearing outdoors and indoors, limitations on gatherings, completion of daily health assessments and frequent testing—apply to all members of the community engaging in any type of activity on-campus. While the University has emphasized that violations of these policies will “result in loss of on-campus privileges and may also result in disciplinary action,” it remains unclear what exactly this disciplinary action will entail. This board worries that such lack of specificity from both the administration and the various offices that will enforce the policies could lead to discriminatory practices against students of color in the Brandeis community.
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.
EDITORIAL: Standing with Brandeis’ Black and Brown communities amidst police violence and civil unrest
In recent weeks, people all over the United States and around the world have been using their voices in a renewed call for racial justice. This board condemns anti-Black racism, as highlighted by recent incidents of police brutality, and is implementing concrete ways that we can address systemic racial inequity in our own organization.
The end of this year has brought countless unexpected obstacles, making it especially difficult to say goodbye to our seniors. Each of them has brought something special to the Justice, and we know they will bring their same strengths and passions to whatever it is they choose to pursue. Thank you to our seniors for all of your creative and thoughtful contributions to the Justice over the years.