Saturday, December 4

Editorial: Students must remain vigilant to avoid further COVID-19 outbreaks

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Life on campus seems to be returning to normal, but that could change at a moment’s notice.

A single cough in a lecture hall can create a wave of anxiety – and rightly so. There’s no telling if it’s from COVID-19 or an itchy throat. This anxiety may never go away for some students. But luckily, their peers can help alleviate it.

As students, we must take individual responsibility to keep each other safe. If you have just one COVID-19 symptom, it is important to avoid interacting with others and attending classes in person.

One person is all it takes to start an outbreak.

It’s understandable that most of us want to continue attending our newly in-person classes, but those opportunities will disappear if an outbreak emerges. With the majority of students being vaccinated, a little illness can feel like nothing. However, it’s not worth the risk of going to class.

Additionally, all students should be sure to carefully complete the mandatory symptom monitoring survey before coming to campus since it provides crucial information on whether or not it is safe to attend class. It also helps professors ensure their in-person students aren’t putting one another in harm’s way.

We can also keep up with recent COVID-19 cases here on campus.

UCLA has created a COVID-19 case location dashboard, which features the dates when people who have tested positive were on campus and the locations they visited while contagious. This notifies others who might have been in the same place to see if they are at risk of getting sick themselves.

The dashboard also underscores the continued prevalence of COVID-19 here on campus. Despite what some may think or hope, we are not yet out of the woods. The university detected trace amounts of COVID-19 in wastewater from the Hill on Oct. 8. There has also been at least one new COVID-19 case among students, staff and faculty nearly every day this month.

Even if you personally don’t know anyone who is infected, there is still risk that you’ve been exposed.

If there is any suspicion at all of contracting the virus, it’s important that students are tested as soon as possible. Luckily, UCLA’s COVID-19 testing vending machines offer up to two free tests a week for individuals with an active BruinCard.

And even if there is no such suspicion, students should at least aim to be tested weekly. That way, there is constant reassurance that everyone is well enough to participate in in-person activities.

Safety requires our collective cooperation. To ensure the Bruin community is healthy, we must put one another first.

Follow all of our coronavirus coverage here

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