Omicron Variant Sparks Concern

by Anna Woods & Caroline McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief & Sports Editor

One Manhattan addressed the pressing concern of the Omicron variant in their weekly email Thursday Dec. 2, shortly following a positive case found in a patient who was recently in New York City. 

In light of the variant, Manhattan College officials are urging students to follow the New York City Department of Health’s indoor mask advisory and will keep its campus-wide indoor mask mandate in place. 

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will make any relevant decisions based on guidance from local and national health officials,” One Manhattan wrote in the email. 

There are currently seven active cases found in the Manhattan College community, none of which have been reported to contain the Omicron variant. This is an increase from the two cases reported in last week’s One Manhattan update and is in line with the city-wide increase in positive cases. Since the start of the semester there has been 51 recovered cases. 

One Manhattan requests all students who are unvaccinated due to an exemption to speak with a medical professional regarding options of vaccination, and all students who have been vaccinated to receive their booster shot. While there is a portal to submit proof of a booster, there is no mandate for students to receive it as of yet. 

Those who have received their last Moderna or Pfizer dose more than six months ago, and those who have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine more than two months ago, are now eligible for the booster. 

Jaspers Return announced in the email that the college will be hosting an on-campus vaccine clinic.

“On Thursday, December 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we will be hosting a vaccine clinic, in partnership with Desai Pharmacy, on campus in Smith Auditorium,” wrote the email. “Desai Pharmacy will provide Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots on site.”

The Jaspers Return email also stated that those who would like to get vaccinated must bring their CDC vaccination card, a form of identification, and insurance card to the clinic. Additionally, it outlined eligibility requirements.

“You are eligible if you have received your last Moderna or Pfizer dose more than six months ago. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago, you are also eligible to receive a booster dose,” wrote the email.

One Manhattan also shared an updated COVID-19 testing schedule leading up to winter break.

“COVID-19 testing is available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Smith Auditorium … Our last test date before Christmas will be on Monday, December 20. We will resume testing after the new year on Tuesday, January 4,” wrote the email. 

In addition to this testing schedule, the email included information regarding a COVID-19 survey. The purpose of the survey is to inquire about how the pandemic has affected learning, teaching, and other factors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended higher education, and an important question is what lessons can we draw from changes that were implemented (for example, the dependence on remote/virtual learning and teaching) during this time. We are asking for your help in better understanding what these lessons mean for our future, wrote the email”

Students and faculty members from at least one of the Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and/or Spring 2021 semesters were eligible to participate. It is completely anonymous and you were not required to complete it when starting. It closed on Sunday, December 5, at 11:59pm.

One Manhattan wrote that the those in charge of the survey are Dr. Ira Gerhardt (Department of Mathematics) and Dr. Rani Roy (Associate Provost/Department of Kinesiology) at