COVID-19 is showing no signs of slowing down, and with a new strain appearing, it could get even worse. This new strain, called B.1.1.7, the UK variant, or several other names could have massive implications on the U.S.
As for how this will affect Saint John’s, everything remains on schedule. In an email response, Assistant Principal for Student Life Dana Watson said the school plans to have, “just under eight hundred students on campus, which is an increase from the number of students on campus before the holidays.”
Of course, the major change to the return to school will be the fact that everyone on campus will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test. Ms. Watson said it is a precautionary measure to ensure we can keep the school open to all who opt for in-person learning.
The Magnus portal, which students used to check in before school, will still be in use by the school. Saint John’s will continue to monitor the CDC guidelines as needed throughout the entire process.
The new strain continues to appear in new locations in the United States. Ashish Jha, MD, Dean of the Brown School of Public Health, projected that as the new strains take hold in the U.S., they could cause an additional 10 million new infections by the end of February and as many as 150,000 more deaths. Former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said it best, stating that, “The virus is changing. It’s a deadly enemy, and a tricky one.”