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Jones ends COVID safety regulations, continues to monitor situation

Since December of 2020, the presence of the COVID-19 virus has caused widespread difficulty across the globe. Recently, there has been a decline in COVID cases, allowing Jones College to end all COVID safety regulations.

To ensure students have the safest college experience possible, Jones took action by mandating masks, encouraging students to receive their COVID-19 vaccine and enforcing social distancing in classes.

Jones College decides the level of safety mandates based on different forms of data. According to Eric Shows, microbiology instructor and assistant dean for the school of science and engineering, the college’s COVID-19 task force considers local and statewide information from the CDC, the number of new statewide daily cases and rolling seven-day average of newly reported cases, the number of students and employees who were exposed to or contracted COVID-19 and short-term and long-term data trends.

In the beginning stages of the crisis, Jones College, like many others, took strict action. In the spring semester of 2020, after the outbreak was announced, Jones chose to finish in an online format. In the fall of 2020, the campus allowed students to attend in-person classes in a hybrid format, meaning the classes were smaller and operated by rotating attendance to ensure that social distancing guidelines were met. Jones also implemented daily temperature checks, a required armband for entrance into buildings, and a mask mandate.

“Regardless of whether mandates for any safety precaution are in place or not, individuals can still make responsible decisions that will protect themselves and others,”  said Shows, who also warned of the dangers of misinformation, stating, “Misinformation has prolonged the pandemic and caused otherwise preventable suffering and death.”

Information seen on social media that contradicts the CDC is considered misinformation.

Jones College has reached a point in which the numbers of those infected have decreased enough to lift virtually all COVID safety mandates.

“I’m incredibly thankful for our campus leadership’s approach to our pandemic response, and there are so many people who worked behind the scenes that deserve our continued thanks for their efforts that are ongoing,” said Shows.

Student Jaylon Sims said, “I personally think that Jones College did a great job with the COVID-19 guidelines as well as keeping students safe. I also think that COVID-19 is still prevalent in our community, but we must keep our faith in God and  keep pushing forward.”

by Bryce Dupree

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