Editorial

COVID-19 is present on campus and the only way to stop it is with transparent communication. Photo: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum

All students should have received an email informing them of the COVID-19 case in the 45 Mann residence

On Sept. 8, the Fulcrum obtained a leaked email from Housing Services pertaining to the fact that a student tested positive for COVID-19. After twenty minutes of digging, we pinpointed the case to the 45 Mann residence at the University of Ottawa. 

Students at the 45 Mann residence received an email informing them earlier that day that a student had tested positive for COVID-19 in their residence. Students residing in the U of O’s other residences also received an email informing them of a case of COVID-19 in a residence that wasn’t theirs. 

A large number of students, however, only found out about the COVID-19 case in residence after reading our article that was published on Sept.8 at 6:51 p.m. This was a striking discovery for the Fulcrum’s Editorial Board, as we believed the university should and would, in the hours and days following the discovery of a COVID-19 case in residence, inform its whole student body that a student living on campus had tested positive for COVID-19. 

A breakdown in communication maybe, this wouldn’t be the first time that the school struggled with emailing all of its students but somehow a large portion of the student body didn’t receive the email. This happened back in June when the University attempted to email every single eligible undergraduate student a ballot to vote in the undergraduate Board of Governor’s and partial Senate election and 615 eligible students didn’t receive ballots. 

But this time, it seems like all students not living in residence didn’t receive an email informing them of the COVID-19 case on campus. The logical conclusion: the University didn’t send all of its student body an email regarding the COVID-19 case on campus.

This begs the question: have we not been alerted of other students testing positive for COVID-19 on campus? Has the University kept other information on the virus’ presence on campus from students and even staff? 

Now, if we want a concrete example of this: how come we aren’t informed of how many students and employees are currently in self-isolation due to being in contact with the individual infected with COVID-19? And if by any chance one of them tested positive for the virus, how and when will we be informed, if at all?

The University should be updating students daily on the presence of COVID-19 (if necessary) on campus. Communication and transparency are the only tools we have to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.

So to the administration: please defy the conventional, be transparent, and keep students informed on the presence of COVID-19 on our shared campus.  U of O student’s and staff’s lives are at stake.