Senate Answers COVID-19 Questions
Student Body President Aziz Ouedraogo was not present at this week’s Public Senate meeting, but that does not mean this meeting was unproductive. This week’s theme was COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQ). Administrators and faculty alike were at the meeting to answer student questions and give information about vaccine distribution on campus.
Executive Director of Communications & Public Affairs Mandy Heaton began the conversation with a presentation outlining all of the guidelines set by both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). All information in the presentation was later sent in an email to all members of the Reed Community.
According to Heaton, Reed has received approval to administer vaccines. The school, however, has not received an allotment of vaccines, which could happen at any time. When the vaccines arrive, Reed must comply with all guidelines and regulations set by both OHA and CDC in terms of order. The accompanying graphic shows the phases of eligibility in Oregon. Students who are not from Oregon can still get the vaccine in Oregon when they are eligible. While it is possible to get the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in Oregon and the second dose in another state, coördination is tricky, and states are rolling out vaccines to different groups at different times. For this reason, Heaton recommends getting both doses in the same place.
COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Health Project Manager Madison Riethman highly recommends off campus workers look at the CDC website to find out what is considered a “frontline worker.” The definition is incredibly broad, according to Riethman, and changing rapidly.
Heaton, Reithman, and the rest of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Working Group have compiled a list of the most asked questions about vaccines and vaccine distribution. The FAQs are located on the Reed website, under “COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan.”
Before anyone can get vaccinated, they must go onto the oregon.gov website, fill out a form, and answer the questions. “If you are a student worker, answer “yes” to number 16 on the website,” Heaton says. Question 16 asks “Are you a frontline worker as defined by the CDC?” and determines if the vaccine is available to a person before May 1, when it is open to all adults 16 years old and older.
Biology Professor Jay Mellies added that if a person has tested positive for COVID-19 previously, they are still eligible for the vaccine. He highly recommends everyone to get the vaccine when eligible, regardless of if a person has had COVID in the past.
Committee reports began with Student Body Vice President Alondra Loza talking about changes to SB Info emails. She said that Senate is beginning the process of creating a SB Info Moderation Committee to ensure that emails get certain messages across in the most productive and appropriate way possible. While she will be running SB Info now, guest writers will be contributing as well. Minutes and recordings of all public meetings will be linked in the email as well. The Student Committee on Diversity is starting to work on hiring race training consultants for Humanities 110 (HUM 110). The hope is to include the training in Orientation Week to ensure all first years have access to the information.
Senator Safi Zenger updated Senate about progress made in regards to HUM 110 content warnings. According to Zenger, the faculty voted on a proposal different from the one written by Senate. Faculty members have not communicated what is in the proposal to Senate, but Zenger does know that it is not similar to the Senate recommendation. Zenger expressed frustration with the lack of clarity from faculty members towards Senate, and wants answers from them as soon as possible.