Make Hamilton College's COVID Test Policy More Lenient

Make Hamilton College's COVID Test Policy More Lenient

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Hamilton Student Body started this petition to David Wippman and

To keep the Hamilton community safe during this pandemic, the college requires students to get tested for COVID three times a week. If you miss a COVID test, you get a strike. Two strikes, and the college gives you 24 hours to pack up all your belongings and leave campus for the remainder of the semester. We are grateful for the measures put in place to keep us safe at Hamilton College, but we would appreciate more leniency for students who miss their COVID tests. We propose that each student can miss one COVID test if they notify the college and make up the test the next day. After the initial missed test, the college can penalize and take disciplinary action against the student if they miss any more COVID tests. This will allow more people to finish the semester on campus and also relieve some of the stress associated with these COVID measures.

This pandemic has affected both people’s physical and mental health. As described in Professor Kelly Faig’s presentation, “Conflicting Motivations: Social Needs and Immunity,” limiting social interactions has been associated with increased levels of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Faig’s research shows a connection between the classical and behavioral immune systems. Whereas the classical immune system leads to the release of cytokines, immune signaling proteins, the behavioral immune system causes reduced social activity, cognitive impairment, and disgust. Since the two immune systems can activate each other, loneliness lowers the body’s ability to protect itself against infections. In a complicated way, being around people spreads COVID, yet feeling isolated from others can make you more likely to develop it.

As more people are vaccinated, we ask that Hamilton College alter the rules about missing COVID tests. If we receive a grace period to make-up the first missed COVID test, then it will lead to lower levels of stress and a stronger community. Despite the isolating nature of social distancing measures, many of us have gotten through it by relying on each other. Sometimes it is hard to feel the pulse of the Hamilton community due to COVID restrictions. When considering how important emotional support is at this time, some of the COVID punishments seem outsized. Removing someone from the Hamilton community does not just socially isolate them or imped their academic performance, it negatively affects those that are around them. It unravels the fabric of the Hamilton’s community.

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