Last Updated: September 17, 2020, 10:18 pm

OPINION | Don’t worry about not knowing who has COVID-19

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Christina Block says the university is not doing anything wrong by protecting the privacy of students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19. Graphic by Emily Wight.


There is no reason for professors and students to worry when they are not informed that someone attending school is carrying the COVID-19 virus.

A recent article by Fox 13 explained that an anonymous professor was concerned about the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 on a daily basis and not being notified unless the student met DSU’s guidelines regarding close contact. The university does not disclose this information out of fear of violating HIPAA, which is a law protecting personal health information.

When I first heard about the university’s rules, I was worried and thought I would want to know if someone sitting next to me had COVID-19. But then I remembered there are people who can be asymptomatic, meaning they can carry the virus without any symptoms and be just as harmful to others as someone who has already been diagnosed.

It should make no difference whether or not someone sitting next to you gets diagnosed with COVID-19 because you could be sitting next to someone who is asymptomatic and has no idea they are carrying the virus.

Not to mention, if you are in a class with someone who contracts COVID-19 and they were not distancing, you will be notified by the school.

No matter what you are doing on campus, whether you are sitting next to or walking by someone, you are taking the risk of possibly contracting COVID-19.

If any students, faculty or staff have a weak immune system and are afraid of being compromised, they should not be at school. Every professor has the ability to make classes solely online, and every student has the opportunity to take all their classes through Zoom by communicating with their professors.

I got pneumonia when I was 3 years old and ended up in the Emergency Room. Since then, I have been prone to pneumonia almost every year. Keeping my distance and wearing a mask is important to me since I am considered to have a weak immune system, yet I still choose to attend class and I know that every time I pass by someone or am sitting next to someone I could contract COVID-19.

It wouldn’t matter whether people around me are asymptomatic or know they have COVID-19 because I would experience the same symptoms either way, which could be potentially worse than someone with a stronger immune system.

That being said, I know there are people who are more susceptible than I am. For example, my mom is a cancer patient who has to keep her distance and wear a mask because she is extremely susceptible due to her weak immune system. So, if a student doesn’t feel comfortable attending school with a weak immune system or lives in fear of the virus, they should be at home or in their dorm attending school virtually.

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