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Task Force puts students, faculty first

The COVID-19 task force, which consists of administration, the campus clinic, campus police, and faculty members, has been hard at work to ensure safety for all on campus.

Mark Easley, who is the COVID-19 task force director at Jones, explains that the task force’s primary concern is the safety and health (both physical and mental) of the students and employees of Jones College, as well as anyone visiting campus.

“In addition to the health and wellbeing of all who step foot on campus, we are very concerned about the academic progress of our students, and we realize that everyone must feel safe and healthy in order to have success in the classroom,” said Easley.

With this in mind, the task force continues to meet daily to discuss the different situation and improvements that can be made to benefit Jones College students and employees. 

Terra Pitts, a Jones nursing student, is facing challenges of her own regarding the pandemic guidelines.

“It’s been tough missing out on our labs because that’s really where I like to practice different skills and techniques. I’m still getting used to no class time and being screened each time I walk in a building, but if it helps keep others safe than that’s what needs to be done,” said Pitts. “You can always put a positive spin on a situation and I choose to see the wonderful recognition and support that nurses all over the world have received. Being a nurse is tough work and I honestly feel like my classmates and I are going to be more experienced with infection control along with handling abrupt situations thrown our way.”

Jones College follows the Mississippi Department of Health and Center for Disease Control guidelines.  While on campus, all employees, students, and visitors are required to wear face coverings when inside buildings, as well as outside when social distancing (6 ft) is not possible.  

“It is the personal responsibility of each individual student and employee to self-monitor and self-report any COVID-19 contact or COVID-19 positive test,” said Easley. “Daily screening and temperature checks are conducted at Health Stations on campus.  Employees, students, and visitors should not be on campus if they have symptoms of COVID-19, are awaiting test results for COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19.” 

As far as face-to-face classes go, the actual number of students on campus varies from day to day, with more students on campus on days when tests are given. Looking at the Jones College daily health screening numbers leads the task force to believe that 20-25% of students are coming to campus most days.

“The best advice is to follow the COVID-19 policies that are in place and to follow the recommendations of our Health Clinic director, Vicki Hampton,” said Easley.

“We all should take personal responsibility for our behavior and how it affects those around us. We have to be careful while continuing to live our lives and doing our jobs, providing a quality education in a safe and healthy environment.”

by Tori Ellis

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