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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

EDITORIAL: We must go forward with responsibility, compassion

Photo by Josh Meitz
Not everyone is adhering to Marquette’s requirement to wear face masks in indoor public or shared spaces on campus.

At first glance, it may seem that we are returning to a sense of normalcy, whatever that may be now.

With the development of COVID-19 vaccines, there has been some progress with mitigating the spread, with 55% of the U.S. population being fully vaccinated as of Sept. 23.

And still the pandemic is not over.

The dominant and more contagious COVID-19 strand, the Delta variant, is increasing COVID-19 cases across the nation while also outcompeting the new Mu strand. There were 120,763 new reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as Sept. 23, 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Sept. 23, 2020, however, there were 43,662 reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

The decisions Marquette makes this year need to reflect the reality of the ongoing pandemic. As we begin to experience a sense of normalcy and pull away from pandemic safety protocols, protecting the health and well-being of not only students, faculty and staff but also Milwaukee residents has never been more important. 

As of Sept. 23, 93% of Marquette students and 88% of faculty and staff have submitted proof of COVID-19 vaccinations. 

While these high percentages of COVID-19 vaccination proof are a positive step toward mitigating the spread, there are still unvaccinated people on campus. 

According to the CDC, unvaccinated individuals may experience more severe health impacts from the Delta variant, which can result in hospitalization. Additionally, vaccinated individuals can still contract COVID-19, or experience a “vaccine breakthrough infection,” as well as spread the Delta variant. 

The uncertainty about who is vaccinated and who is not makes following and enforcing COVID-19 guidelines imperative to protecting everyone’s health. Students, faculty and staff need to take responsibility, making sure to properly wear their face masks in indoor public spaces on campus, as well as holding their peers accountable. Marquette students exploring Milwaukee or other areas outside of campus should be mindful as well, and wearing a mask is still an effective way to protect the health of others and of yourself. 

Engaging with Milwaukee and other areas in this way embodies being the difference, even when not at Marquette. 

Additionally, considering that vaccinated individuals can still contract and spread COVID-19, it is essential Marquette offers the resources for students to check their COVID-19 status so they can take the necessary precaution and quarantine.

Not only does wearing face masks slow the spread of COVID-19, it can also slow the spread of seasonal flu viruses that are common in winter months.  

Students should also get flu shots to prioritize protecting the health of others and themselves. The Marquette University Medical Clinic is hosting campus flu clinic days where full-time undergraduate students and employees who are participating in the Marquette medical insurance plan can get flu shots for no extra charge. This week, the Medical Clinic will be administering flu vaccinations in the Lunda Room in the Alumni Memorial Union from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28 and Wednesday, Sept. 29.       

If students are unsure if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and have no symptoms, they may not be able to receive a COVID-19 test from the Medical Clinic. 

This is an issue, considering there are no longer easily accessible places near campus where students can get COVID-19 tested. The Walgreens on Wisconsin Avenue and Aurora Sinai no longer have any COVID-19 tests. Additionally, the testing site at the American Family Field parking lots, which gave tests regardless of having symptoms, will stop testing after Sept. 25 due to the Brewers needing more parking space for the Major League Baseball playoffs in October.

In addition to making COVID-19 tests more available, the university should also consider updating the COVID-19 Dashboard more frequently. 

While the COVID-19 Dashboard was updated on every day during the week during the 2020-2021 school year, it is only updated on Thursdays this year. 

Students, faculty and staff should have more access to more up to date information about COVID-19 cases on campus. 

Forty-two million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 682,000 COVID-19 deaths later in the U.S., we are still fighting this pandemic.

While we have made considerable progress, we have a responsibility to our community, peers and ourselves to take this pandemic seriously. We must care for our neighbor. It truly is up to us.

Editorial topics by the Marquette Wire are decided at weekly meetings between members of the executive board. The editorial is crafted with leadership by the executive opinions editor. The executive board consists of the executive director of the Wire, managing editor of the Marquette Tribune, managing editor of the Marquette Journal, general manager of MUTV, general manager of MUR and ten additional top editors across the organization. 

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