The Globe’s Point: Coronavirus comes to campus

The moment everyone has been dreading is here.

Coronavirus is officially at Point Park. The university reported its first case on Sept. 17 after a commuter student tested positive. 

For the first few weeks, it seemed we were just coasting by, only having to report a few people in isolation or quarantine here and there. But the number of cases and people in isolation has steadily continued to increase since Sept. 17.

Truth be told, we all knew this was inevitable. While we are a small liberal arts school, our campus is in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh. Many students, let alone faculty and staff, are commuting day in and day out.

So what happens now? In the absence of mandatory randomized testing and on-site facilities, the burden will fall on students, staff and faculty to recognize any COVID-19 symptoms in themselves or among their roommates, friends and family and then decide to get tested. Point Park is working with the Allegheny County Health Department, which has a system in place for contact tracing, but it’s not without its faults. If there is community spread, students, staff and faculty who have asymptomatic cases may unwittingly spread the virus for a good amount of time before being notified (if they ever are). 

In August, the Notre Dame Observer wrote an editorial that gained national attention, asking their university to not make them “write obituaries.” While very bleak, the editorial laid out in stark terms a plea for everyone to do their due diligence in preventing the spread of the virus and asked that the university take some responsibility. We put forward a similar declaration. Wearing masks and social distancing really does save lives. And increased testing measures, while they may not seem necessary or maybe they’re not being implemented to save costs, will do the same. 

To our remote students and teachers who are observing this all unfold on the sidelines, The Globe is committed to keeping you updated on developments of cases on campus. And for those who are on campus, we are watching the numbers and are hoping just the same as you that the fallout from this will not be devastating.