Gannon community reflects on COVID-19


Students recall the past two years of the pandemic as COVID-19 policies and restrictions begin to change and loosen their hold on the Gannon community.

Caonabo Camilo, Staff Writer

Almost two years have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began and many Gannon University upperclassmen can remember what it was like to be on campus as things took a turn for the worse.

They watched as other schools began to shut down, then eventually received their own dreaded email telling students that they would need to return home.

The entire world had shut down in the blink of an eye.

Gannon moved swiftly in adjusting classes to virtual learning and devising an action plan to continue to give students an optimal education while ensuring the safety of its students, but the changes would be drastic.

As the fall 2020 semester began, campus looked a lot different than it once had as new restrictions became a part of everyday life.

This included a mask mandate, limited capacity across all of campus, new traffic patterns, quarantines, COVID-19 testing, Zoom classes and the LiveSafe health survey

Students unable to be on campus were given the option to attend classes virtually.

Gannon was able to maintain and enforce strict COVID-19 regulations that helped minimize the spread of COVID throughout the university.

Many universities had struggled to remain open but thanks to the cooperation of the students and the university, campus stayed open for the entire year.

Many events were heavily restricted, and most school events were held virtually. As the spring 2021 semester began, there was hope of returning to normal as vaccines had proved successful and became available to the staff and students.

Gannon was able to secure a partnership with LECOM and begin vaccinations for staff and students who qualified for the first stages of the vaccination plan.

Since then, according to the Gannon COVID-19 dashboard, over 3,000 vaccinations have been distributed at the Erie campus with 68.2% of the campus being fully vaccinated as well as 276 vaccinations or 79.1% at the Ruskin campus.

Hope started to arise as the spring semester ended and summer began.

With case numbers starting to dwindle and vaccinations on the rise, Gannon announced that the mask mandate would be lifted as well as almost all other COVID-19 restrictions.

However, shortly before the start of the fall 2021 semester, a spike in active cases and plateau in vaccinations prompted Gannon to reinstate the mask mandate.

However, Gannon and the community is making positive strides.

Though the indoor mask mandate is still in effect, students and faculty are not required to wear masks while outdoors on campus.

More and more events have taken place in person since the start of the semester such as Welcome Week and the IgKnight Activities Fair.

Gannon has further pushed for vaccinating its students and faculty, hoping to reach 80% in the near future while already having had the first vaccine clinic during the Activities Fair.

Many of the restrictions have been lifted but some remain or have been adjusted.

“There are several changes, but the most significant one involves policies around vaccination and the need for periodic screenings for COVID-19 if you are not vaccinated,” said Doug Oathout, chief of staff and director of Marketing and Communications.

For unvaccinated individuals, COVID-19 testing is required at least once every two weeks to monitor the spread.

Any unvaccinated individuals who come into close contact with a COVID-positive person will be required to complete a full 14-day quarantine whereas those who are vaccinated will not be required to quarantine unless they begin to show symptoms.

Ten-day quarantines are still required for COVID-19-positive individuals regardless of vaccination status.

Unvaccinated individuals are also asked to continue wearing a mask at all times to protect themselves and other individuals who have yet to or are unable to receive the vaccine.

“There have been other changes, which in part reflect our high vaccination rate: we have lifted gathering restrictions, dropped the need for social distancing and loosened the visitor rules in our residence halls,” Oathout said.

Daniel Baker, a senior social work major, said he hopes people realize that “when we do everything we can to protect each other, we can actually defeat this virus.”

“Part of being a member of our Gannon family means looking out for each other,” he added.

Dominique Booker, a senior accounting major, said she was pleased that some of the restrictions had eased and expressed her excitement about being able to enjoy her senior year.

“I am honestly most excited to graduate and have an in-person graduation,” Booker said.


[email protected]