MRU’s first confirmed COVID-19 case “not surprising,” says university
By Tristan Oram, Contributor
Mount Royal University (MRU) is grappling with its first confirmed case of COVID-19, but reactions from students on campus have been calm so far.
On Sept. 16, MRU sent an email to students and staff informing them that “a member of the MRU community who was on campus last week has tested positive for COVID-19.”
For the many students who aren’t required to be on campus during this time, this announcement might not mean much — but to those who are taking courses that require on-campus lessons, it is much more relevant.
Nursing is among the faculties that have labs and courses being delivered on campus this semester. Fourth-year nursing student and president of the MRU Student Nursing Society, Shani Markus, recently had to be on campus for a lab — her first visit to the university since the pandemic began.
“In the spring we were supposed to do more clinicals, but those got pushed back,” Markus says. “I think our sanitary measures are pretty good… I think everyone is following the guidelines as best they can.”
Although Markus has only had the one lab on campus so far, she imagines that second- and third-year students in the nursing program will likely have more on-campus classes.
Before the start of the fall 2020 semester, MRU released its COVID-19 People Plan, a list of guidelines and protocols for individuals on campus to follow in order to help prevent the spread of the virus, such as physical distancing and mandatory mask wearing.
Markus adds that the guidelines required for her lab were followed by everyone involved, including increased hand washing and sanitizing of work stations and equipment during and after their use.
Although students taking classes online may not have to go to MRU for the time being, those living on campus are still in close proximity. Public relations student, Peony Kong, is one such example.
Kong says MRU’s guidelines and protocols have been well communicated.
“Residence services … gave basic instructions that we’re not supposed to meet together with our roommates even inside the building, we have to do it outside the building,” she says.
MRU’s statement regarding the case goes on to say, “While it is concerning to have a case on campus, it is not surprising and it is realistic to expect that despite our best efforts there may be more confirmed cases as the semester continues.”
Kong commends the university’s ability to follow AHS guidelines while still keeping residence open.
“MRU — especially residence services — does a really good job following the Alberta Health regulations and they do everything they can to space out students while still providing a place for students to live on campus,” Kong says.