Fully vaccinated students are no longer required to participate in surveillance testing after April 23, only a few weeks short of Kendall Day, a celebration of the end of the academic year.
In an email to students April 15, Christina Moylan, director of public health emergency preparedness, said students who are two weeks out from receiving their vaccinations are allowed to stop testing. The decision comes as the college prepares to reopen in the upcoming fall semester, and a sense of normalcy is starting to flow through the campus.
It certainly is a milestone to have come this far, especially after over a year of confusion, fear and exhaustion. However, although research holds that the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines grant considerable immunity after proper dosage and time, all COVID-19 vaccines have only been around for a short time. It is not known exactly how long immunity lasts, and variant strains continue to pop up.
Stopping surveillance testing requirements — even for a minority — presents a threat to campus safety, especially as it comes just two weeks before Kendall Day and a month before graduation. These events are two of the largest celebrations this year, and some may see the lack of testing as a sign to let their guards down. It is not.
Even though the college is encouraging students to not partake in Kendall Day and is offering other ways to celebrate the end of the semester, it is unlikely that everyone will heed the college’s warning to celebrate safely. This is an unfortunate reality, and students still need to be cognizant of the potential negative impacts their actions can have on both the campus community and the broader Ithaca community. This isn’t to say students shouldn’t celebrate the end of the year — after all, this was one of the most taxing years of our lives. However, think twice before engaging in reckless behavior.
Bringing the campus back safely next fall requires commitment. Students need to continue following safety regulations, but the college should continue to reinforce these measures. Now is not the time to ease up.