As most of the student body is aware, the American River College campus has re-opened for some classes. As students, however, we are left to wonder if it is safe for us to go back to campus without having to worry about contracting COVID-19.
Everyone is eager to be back on campus. On campus-learning is something that some students have never experienced before. They have no idea what college life is like.
The Los Rios Community College District assures all its students and faculty that they do their very best to keep everyone safe on campus. However, in recent months we’ve learned this isn’t always the case.
Ryan Nix, a health service assistant for ARC, revealed in an interview with the Current on January 26, said that he was unvaccinated and had tested positive for COVID-19. After isolating, Nix was still working on campus despite his vaccination status
With this, we learned that certain mandates and regulations are not being followed. If ARC wants to preserve the safety of the students and faculty, those mandates and regulations must be enforced.
As of March 14, the LRCCD has made masks optional. This and other actions raise the question: Is the safety of the student and staff still coming first?
Students fear that the masks becoming optional in such a critical time is probably not the best way to move forward.
Students and faculty are required to submit their vaccination information to eServices if they want to come onto campus. But faculty such as Nix were still working on campus despite being unvaccinated.
Faculty can check the vaccination status of students and drop them from in-person classes if they are unvaccinated but the fact that an employee was on campus while unvaccinated raises concern about if these protocols are being followed.
Though faculty can check the vaccination status of their students there’s no way of knowing if other people who come onto campus are vaccinated or not. There are no entry requirements at ARC outdoor sporting events, so people who aren’t vaccinated can still come on to campus and attend an event.
With the case of this one employee, it is clear that ARC is not enforcing its own mandate. Now, students may have to wonder if the school’s priority is in the students’ enrollment rather than their health.
We understand that the school wants the campus to be fully open, but the necessary precautions cannot be overlooked. Students and faculty would be in the exact same environment, yet they seem to be ok with allowing staff members to forgo a mandate that is required for students.
Safety should not be compromised in order to speed up the return to campus. A return to campus now, without all guidelines being followed, could put ARC back to where it has kept going every time a re-opening is attempted: a rise in statewide COVID-19 cases that puts everyone back to online learning.
It is vital that ARC holds students and faculty to the same standard and uphold the protocols they have in place to ensure that everyone on campus feels safe.
The rules and safety standards were established for a reason. These rules should continue to be used to prevent cases like this. Students deserve to know whether or not the rules will be enforced that will actually protect their well-being.