BY CORIE LYNN
In their final meeting before Fall Break, the Fort Hays State University Student Government Association discussed COVID-19 surveillance testing and the reasoning behind students returning to campus after Thanksgiving.
Lynn Adams, director of the FHSU Student Health Center, visited with the student senators that evening to formally ask the group to participate in the voluntary surveillance testing programing.
The purpose of this testing, he explained, is to gain insight into spread of the coronavirus on the FHSU campus, especially as not everyone carrying the virus displays symptoms.
“We’ve found more individuals testing positive that are asymptomatic,” Adams said.
The members of the SGA, like other members of the FHSU community who have participated in surveillance testing, will be provided a saliva test that the Student Health Center will send to a partner lab.
According to Adams, the CDC recommends that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days should not participate in the testing.
When asked about trends the University has seen in its most recent surveillance tests, he stated there has been an increase in positive results over the last two weeks. This comes after a period of relative stability and even decline.
“It’s been a little disconcerting this week,” Adams said.
As he concluded his time, Adams urged the students to continue following mitigation measures as they travel for Fall Break, knowing that this time could continue to raise campus coronavirus cases.
Following Adams’ discussion, a few individuals gave a weekly report. This included President Haley Reiter, who once again helped award money through the Student Emergency Assistance Fund as well as met with the Student Advisory Council to begin plans for the upcoming Higher Education Day.
Reiter also took the time to invite the student senators to volunteer in the FHSU drive-thru tree lighting ceremony on December 1.
She informed the student senators that, though a drive-thru format, visitors will be able to stop at stations to receive crafts, cookies and hot chocolate and that they would provide information on common winter holidays beside Christmas.
Other short reports came from Vice President Bryson Homman, Legislative Affairs Director Crystal Rojas and Senator Isaiah Schindler.
Homman attended the Student Organization Roundtable to answer questions while Rojas attended a number of meetings, including that of the Student Emergency Assistance Fund.
Schindler reported that the General Education Committee reviewed course revisions discussed in the previous week and tabled discussion of additional courses.
The only other business for the evening came from the Open Forum.
During this time, discussion, which was broached by Senator Will Barfield, centered on why the University chose to bring students back to campus after possible exposure to COVID-19 during Fall Break.
Reiter explained that the decision was made because the university is unable to predict whether outbreaks will, in fact, occur, because the return from the three-day Labor Day weekend was successful in not creating an outbreak and because the university hopes to maintain an authentic college experience for its students.
Barfield followed up by asking whether online finals would be available for those students unable to return or unfomtable with returning to campus following Thanksgiving.
According to Reiter, this must be settled between student and instructor.
“If you’re thinking that [you need an online option], talk to your professors now,” she said.
With no further discussion or business, the Student Senate adjourned. They will meet for the final time during this semester on Dec. 7.