Omicron arrived at Belmont in full force this week bringing at least 107 positive COVID-19 cases, an all-time high for the pandemic.
The university reported 40 residential cases, 52 non-residential cases and 15 faculty cases, according to data released Monday.
This surge eclipses the previous case record on campus — 82 reported the first week of March 2021.
“This number is not surprising given the recent surge in case counts nationwide and the high transmissibility rate of the omicron variant. It also need not be cause for alarm, given that the omicron variant has been found to cause less severe illness overall,” said a university email sent to students and faculty Monday.
Songwriting sophomore Julia Campopiano is not at all surprised by the spike, she said. For her, it’s yet another reason to make a change that many students and faculty have been advocating for months.
“We definitely need to mandate the vaccine,” Campopiano said.
“Point blank. Period.”
Campopiano, a residential student currently quarantining off-campus with COVID-19, has not been able to attend her classes over Zoom, but her professors accommodated her with assignment extensions, she said.
She initially tested positive after reuniting with her roommate for the spring and was told by Health Services to quarantine for five days since she’s received both her vaccine and booster shot.
But when Campopiano’s quarantine ends tomorrow, she’ll return to a campus still in full swing.
“A bunch of my classes, I’m basically sitting shoulder to shoulder with people,” she said.
Even with the rising case count, the university will work to keep in-person learning in place through the spring, said Monday’s email.
Omicron has likely peaked in Nashville, but students should continue to stay vigilant by wearing masks and monitoring their symptoms, the email said.
For more information on COVID-19 at Belmont, read up on the university’s current protocols and refer to the following:
— Students who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, must quarantine off campus for five days and be fever-free and improved for at least 24 hours before returning to Belmont.
— After quarantining, students should wear a mask around others for at least another five days.
— Students exposed to COVID-19 who have the full course of vaccines plus a booster do not have to quarantine.
— Students exposed to COVID-19 who have no vaccines or no booster have to quarantine off campus for five days.
COVID-19 vaccine and testing resources
— Vaccines and boosters are available by appointment at the McWhorter Clinic.
— Rapid antigen tests are available by appointment at the Gabhart Clinic.
This article was written by Sarah Maninger and Anna Jackson.