The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Daily COVID-19 case notifications halted after “overwhelming” pushback

    On Feb. 21, the Sonoma State University COVID-19 Monitoring and Compliance Team released a statement about the numerous COVID-19 case notifications students have been receiving on a daily basis over the last two years.  

    The monitoring team intends to lessen the amount of notifications sent out each day in efforts to make students feel more at home on campus and less worried about the lingering threat of the pandemic. 

    This change comes after multiple surveys and discussions with students and staff alike found that a majority of the campus community viewed the amount of notifications as unnecessary, concerning, and overwhelming.

    The statement, which was sent out by Associate Vice President for Risk Management and Safety Services, Tyson Hill, read, “Sonoma State University is changing the notification process in order to provide a single online location where information regarding potential COVID exposures is located. Students will no longer receive emails but…Close contacts and individuals who attend class with a COVID-19 positive individual will continue to be individually notified by the COVID Monitoring Team about the exposure and what steps are required or recommended. ” 

    After a few months of research, the monitoring team felt that the change was necessary, “This change was prompted by conversations our office has had with students and employees about the process and our desire to provide the best information to the most people in the most convenient way.”

    While many SSU students and faculty were relieved by the news that the notifications were being scaled back, others were left feeling uncomfortable, despite the information being available to the public on the COVID-10 Case Information website.

    One of these students, Andrea Vanderschoot, a fourth-year Criminal Justice major said that she doesn’t think that many students realize that the case information is now available online, “I didn’t even know about it until you told me, but I feel like it’s not very fair in a sense that the majority of students don’t realize it’s on there so it’s giving false pretenses in a way. With an email it’s easier and more accessible but with all these notifications no longer coming our way, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable and sketched out. Like why not tell us in an email where they can be upfront?” 

    The monitoring team has clarified that while students and faculty may not be receiving the emails daily about exposures and outbreaks, possibly infected individuals will still be notified about potential exposure with an email from them. 

    “Exposure notifications are still going out to people who have been directly exposed and for the people who want to know about it on a daily basis, it’s still available publicly,” said third-year Music Education student, Ryan Ristine,”This new method puts less spam in our inboxes and makes the important notifications, like the direct exposure ones, harder to miss or skip over.”

    While SSU students may not be receiving the daily emails like they’re used to, the Sonoma State website offers logs of contact tracing, exposure notifications, and readily available data that stretches back till Jan. 1. 

    “While I miss daily update, I do like the new way of getting notified because it tells you the exact class of the person you were exposed to instead of just the general building,” said Gabby Achiro, a fourth-year Business Management major.

    According to Interim Senior Director for Risk Management, Emergency Services, and Campus Safety Operations, Missy Brunetta, the “change in how we notify students was only intended to be more efficient and make the information from multiple cases more easily combined for a clear picture.” 

    This big picture ideology will hopefully provide a more fleshed out and expansive idea on how students will receive COVID-19 information moving forward. The team at SSU has taken a clear stance to further provide assistance without the daily notification system that used to send out emails to students and faculty. 

    While all this info is readily available on the website, Brunetta wanted to stress, “It’s also very important to remember our office continues to notify individuals who were in direct contact or were present in a classroom with a COVID positive person.  The community notices only identify general locations where someone may have had passing or short-term contact with someone with COVID.  These types of casual contacts are generally low risk, especially for those who are vaccinated and wearing masks.” 

    For students wanting any more information about COVID-19 exposures or outbreaks on campus, the COVID-19 Case Information tab on the Sonoma State website will be readily available at all times with information dating back from Jan. 1, to present day.

    COURTESY// World Health Organization on Instagram

    The World Health Organization shares information on how to remain COVID safe.

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