In the last two weeks, COVID-19 policies on campus and in the larger Putnam County communities have faced several new changes.
On campus, a revised visitor policy has been in place since March 26, after the COVID-19 Student Working Group put forth a revision to the highly-scrutinized no-visitor policy for University and Greek-owned property this semester.
Additionally, on April 2, Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be available for DePauw students ages 18+ after Governor Holcomb’s announcement that Indiana residents 16+ would be eligible for vaccines after March 31.
COVID-19 Task Force Chair Julia Proctor looks forward to Friday’s clinic.
“I am absolutely optimistic about this week’s clinic. This is a huge game changer for our campus, even for the next six weeks,” Proctor said. “If a large population of the student body, were to be vaccinated this coming Friday… by April 16, that population of students will be considered fully vaccinated.”
While anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to receive a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, this Friday’s vaccine rollout is an open pod clinic run through the Putnam County Health Department. This means anyone with proof of residence in the state of Indiana can register.
“It is not a guarantee that all students would be able to get a vaccine appointment, which is why we will be sending out some reminders,” Proctor said.
Even if students are unable to receive a vaccination through this Friday’s clinic, DePauw has approval from the Indiana Department of Health to receive a closed clinic just for DePauw’s campus, according to Proctor.
Proctor and the COVID-19 Task Force are still awaiting details about the future closed clinic, but hope to know more in the next week.
Travis Owen ‘21, graduated a semester early with a degree in biochemistry and global health with focus on non communicable and communicable diseases. After graduating, he went straight to work for a COVID-19 testing clinic in Northern Indiana.
“I am absolutely optimistic and excited to hear that DePauw is opening up a clinic with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” Owen said. “This is the most crucial part of defeating a pandemic and getting back to a sense of normality.”
Along with the vaccination clinic, students have been able to have one registered guest in their living space since March 26. Though the policy will not be reviewed until after a two-week period, Proctor is excited to hear feedback from students.
Senior Trevor Conerly has been thankful for the university’s changing policies but wishes students would be more careful to finish the semester.
“I appreciate the cautiousness of everything that has been going well and hope that the vaccine goes well,” Conerly said. “I would prefer to see less parties for the time being until everything’s gone.”
Despite the added flexibility, only a portion of campus—a majority Greek-affiliated students—have registered guests.
“My understanding from the registration lists that were submitted that only about 400 students registered a visitor, which is interesting,” Proctor said.
Sophomore Aiden Power is also appreciative of the changes in COVID-19 policy.
“I think it is a good first step towards bringing back the social aspects of this school … it just shows that the students’ words are being heard,” Power said.