Manhattan Continues to Navigate the ‘New Normal’

by Nicole Fitzsimmons, News Editor

As the first month of in-person classes at Manhattan comes to a close, the college continues to promote safety measures and precautions to maintain the potential spread of COVID-19 on campus.

In an email to the Manhattan College community, One Manhattan reported that within the last 14 days, Health Services has processed 599 COVID-19 tests from on-campus and off-campus testing sites, with 13 positive results.

With these results, the college has a positive test rate of 2.2 percent, in comparison to the 2.5 percent seven-day positive test rate in New York City as a whole on Sept. 21. These results contrast greatly from the 7.6 percent positive test rate nationwide from Sept. 19.

“We are also asking those who have been close contacts with individuals who have tested positive, or who have experienced symptoms, to also be tested,” the email wrote.

The previous week of Sept. 16 showed promising results as the semester first kicked off with well-facilitated in-person activities and classes and a positive test average of only 1.5 percent during the 14-day period.

“Although it is not a complete return to pre-pandemic classrooms and activities, we think it has been a great start to the semester. Each day on campus is special, seeing students and colleagues and making us grateful for what has been absent for so long. Thank you to everyone for your part in making the start to our new semester academic year safe and successful,” the email from Sept. 16 wrote.

To speed up the process of testing, Health Services and One Manhattan teams offered rapid testing during the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 23. Like the previous week’s pop-up testing, this was available in the Smith Auditorium lobby for all students, faculty, administrators or staff members in compliance with COVID-19 vaccine requirements or with an approved exemption.

Limited testing availability made the process first come first serve, but especially encouraged for those who were experiencing symptoms.

The rapid testing was not a substitute, however, for weekly PCR surveillance testing for individuals with approved exemptions.

Despite the relatively low positive test rate on campus, the email reminded the community about the mask mandate and that they are to be worn at all times when indoors to prevent any spreading of the virus on campus.

In an email sent out on Sept. 16, One Manhattan also reminded the community about the Serenity Hour hosted by the Multicultural Center on Fridays at 8:30 a.m. This is an opportunity for students to take a moment and pause while reflecting on the week during a discussion as a means of self-care during these challenging times.

The ‘new normal’ for every- one has taken some time to get adjusted to, but with COVID-19 still continuing to exist within our city and our community, the college will continue to provide updates to keep everyone safe.

“Because the health and safety of our community is our first priority, we want to continue to provide updated information to you,” the email wrote.