As COVID-19 cases increase across the United States, many of us are no strangers to social isolation. With social distancing guidelines expected to continue throughout the winter, feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety can creep in as one thinks of another few months stuck indoors. For individuals who suffer from seasonal depression, the COVID-19 pandemic can feel like an added layer of stress to the winter months ahead. However, this board hopes that proper preparation and these self-care tips can ease the transition into the pandemic winter.
As the weather becomes colder and more dangerous, this board would like to bring attention to some of the issues that may arise at Brandeis as we experience winter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an unprecedented semester, the University has implemented a number of policies both to provide students with necessary campus services and to contain the spread of COVID-19. One such policy is the University’s use of a Campus Passport Portal system, where, in order to access certain services on campus, students must fill out a daily health assessment and confirm their COVID-19 biweekly testing status. Students receive a color and status through the passport system, which corresponds to their eligibility for navigating the campus and accessing dining halls, classrooms, the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center gym and testing sites. This board commends the University for its efforts to ensure the safest possible campus at this time. The passport system is a well-intentioned attempt to deliver a safe yet effective means of both ensuring the best possible campus experience, and making sure students, staff and faculty alike can navigate the campus safely. However, key issues remain with the passport service’s accessibility and ease of use.
Editorial: As Election Day approaches, professors should adjust their expectations so students can exercise their civic duty
With the 2020 presidential election exactly a week away, tension is mounting, and voters are flooding to the polls. As this board wrote last week, it is incredibly important that Brandeis students vote up and down the ballot this election cycle. We now turn to professors and ask that they accommodate students on and around Election Day to ensure that everyone who is eligible can vote without it interfering with their academics.
Editorial: The Justice endorses former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. for President of the United States
As Election Day approaches on Nov. 3, this board has unanimously decided to endorse former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Sen. Kamala D. Harris for President and Vice President of the United States. This ticket’s stance on key issues is preferable to that of the incumbent administration, and we urge readers to cast their ballots early for the Democratic ticket.
As the 2020 presidential election approaches, questions about registration deadlines, mail-in voting requirements and other available forms of voting participation have become prevalent. With the number of COVID-19 cases rising, these concerns have been magnified as individuals around the country search for the safest way to participate in the voting process. This board would like to encourage all eligible individuals, particularly Brandeis students, to use available resources to facilitate their participation in this year’s presidential, state and local elections. Links to these resources can be found at the bottom of this article.
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.