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The Ohio University Student Senate holds the first general body meeting of the semester on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. (FILE)

Student Senate: Gillian Ice delivers COVID-19 update

Ohio University Student Senate met virtually Wednesday to hear a Spring Semester COVID-19 update from Gillian Ice, special assistant to the president for public health operations.

Ice mainly discussed a number of old and new COVID-19 protocols the university has in place. 

“I just want to acknowledge that I think we’re all suffering from COVID fatigue … we have a lot of students who are very worried about getting infected. We have a lot of students who are worried about the change in their social networks or isolation,” she said. “The one thing that we can predict about COVID is that it is unpredictable.”

Because of that unpredictability, Ice said it is important to follow the procedures provided to keep safe from infection, referring specifically to what she calls the “Swiss cheese model,” which is based on the idea that the more steps one takes, the safer they are against COVID-19. 

The Swiss cheese model explains that all at once, everyone should be avoiding large gatherings, practicing social distancing, washing hands, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated. All of those prevention methods put together breaks a lot of transmission, Ice said. 

She also said that the university is continuing to encourage both the vaccine and the booster shots, as vaccinated and boosted people are less likely to experience more severe cases of COVID-19. 

In addition to reminding OU’s Student Senate about protocols that are already set in place, Ice talked about some of the university’s new and updated COVID-19 policies, as those rules regularly change with new data. 

“We’ve changed our mask policy,” Ice said. “We really would love that people use an N95 or KN95 or KF94. Those are what we refer to as high filtration masks.”

She also mentioned OU President Hugh Sherman’s announcement requiring weekly testing for all students living in university housing, all residents of sorority and fraternity properties, all students and employees who have an approved exemption for the university’s vaccination requirement and all new students and employees who have not yet acted on the university’s vaccination requirement or are in the process of doing so. 

Ice reminded the body that, especially in the age of the Omicron variant, it is important to act like one might be positive in terms of preventing infection by wearing a mask and limiting the amount of individuals that one socializes with. 


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