The Collegian
Thursday, August 18, 2022

UR stops updating COVID-19 dashboard amid rise in cases in Richmond area

<p>Courtesy of Prachatai/Flickr</p>

Courtesy of Prachatai/Flickr

Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report of a recent rise of COVID-19 cases in surrounding communities, the University of Richmond stopped updating the COVID-19 Dashboard on May 5 and has made no changes to the COVID-19 protocols according to a May 17 email

UR notified students, staff and faculty of the decision to pause the COVID-19 Dashboard via Spiderbytes on May 4 and May 5. 

Like other colleges and universities, UR decided to stop the COVID-19 Dashboard for the summer to evaluate its utility, wrote Sunni Brown, director of media and public relations, in an email to The Collegian. Brown did not answer if UR will bring back the COVID-19 Dashboard in the fall.

Although, some students, like rising senior Tom Colucci who is staying on campus for the summer, were unaware of UR’s decision to pause the dashboard.

“I didn’t even know they stopped updating the dashboard,” Colucci said. “But there’s a lot less people on campus now and during the summer, and I know a lot of people have already had COVID, so it's not as concerning.”

Richmond and Henrico and Chesterfield counties were moved to a high level of community transmission, according to the CDC.

Instead of altering protocols, UR will continue to monitor conditions and make changes as necessary, David Hale, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Jeffrey Legro, executive vice president and provost and general counsel Shannon Sinclair wrote in the May 17 email to students, faculty and staff.

Overall, students had mixed reactions to UR’s summer COVID-19 policies.

“I personally don’t mind that they haven’t changed the policies and it’s better we don’t have to wear masks in classes,” said rising sophomore Daniel Tello, who is also staying on campus for the summer.

Rising junior Joseph Lee, another student staying on campus for the summer, felt differently about UR’s decision.

“None of my friends or anyone I know got COVID recently, but if there’s been an increase it’s probably better if they kept track of everything and maybe upped the policies,” Lee said.

While the rise in COVID-19 cases doesn’t require a change to UR’s COVID-19 response, Hale, Legro and Sinclair urged the UR community to take precautions, like wearing masks indoors.

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“This status change in our local community is an important reminder to continue to practice caution — especially should you begin experiencing symptoms,” they wrote.

Hale, Legro and Sinclair also reminded the UR community to take the following steps if they experience symptoms including congestion, runny nose and a sore throat:

  • Take a test right away, and 
  • Wear a mask until you know the results of your test.
  • If you test negative but continue to experience symptoms, test again in 24 hours.

Self-test kits are available for free for any student, faculty or staff member on campus who is experiencing symptoms or concerned about exposure, according to the email. Masks and self-test kits can be picked up at the following locations:

  • Center for Student Involvement, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • URPD Communication Center in the Special Programs Building, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Contact news writer Katie Castellani at katie.castellani@richmond.edu.

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