Students on Tech’s campus are feeling the effects of Omicron, the newest variant of the coronavirus.
There has been a large, sudden increase of positive cases since the beginning of the semester, according to Tech’s Covid-19 dashboard. The total number of active cases is 199, as of Jan. 31. In response to the overwhelming surge, the Tech Health Department is now allowing students to self-report a positive case, versus having to show proof of a positive diagnosis.
Faculty and professors have also been affected by the new variant, as currently active cases have reached the double digits for the first time since the beginning of the school year. Unfortunately, Health Services are not able to conduct testing appointments for a minimum of two days after scheduling, making it harder for students to get back into the classroom as soon as possible.
Omicron is not only affecting students and staff of Tech, but also those who live within Cookeville as well. An alternative for students who wish to be tested sooner would be clinics and pharmacies, but these establishments are also feeling the pressure of Omicron and can no longer perform same day testing. Tech is continuing to urge students to stay home and schedule a Covid-19 test with Health Services if they have any symptoms and are encouraging a ten-day quarantining period.
The current crisis is continuing to affect students personally. Daniel Frost, a junior business major, said, “I’ve had so many classes canceled so far this semester because my professors have come down with Covid. In one day, I’ve had four classes canceled. While it would not be first choice, I’m starting to wonder if it would be best to close the campus for a week or two to slow down the spread.”
Amelia Greer, a senior and communications major, shared her frustration by saying, “My roommates and I had symptoms starting on Wednesday, so we called Health Services to make a test appointment, but they said they would not be able to see us until Friday. It made us realize how overwhelmed with cases Tech must be right now.”
Bailey Ricketts, a junior education major, said, “It’s a shame to see people not wearing masks on campus anymore, especially seeing as there has been such a storm of cases in the past week. I haven’t caught the virus yet, but I have seen many of my friends struggle to find anywhere to get tested in the Cookeville area. I wish students would be more conscientious about how not wearing masks is affecting our campus.”
While Omicron continues to run rampant at Tech, the school is advocating for students, professors and staff to follow the rules set by the CDC. If you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of Covid
-19, Health Services says to self-report and schedule a test appointment. While making sure to quarantine, let professors know of your absence and stay off campus until you can receive a diagnosis.