Cura personalis — if you’ve been a Loyola student for even a week, you’ve heard this phrase. It’s tossed around in every UNIV 101 course and sits in the “university mission” section of every class syllabus. It’s meaning, as most Loyola students have engraved into their mind, is “caring for the whole person.”
The university teaches us we have a responsibility to care for our neighbors, as well as ourselves. As we continue to battle through the COVID-19 pandemic, that theory has never been more literal.
When the university announced it would be bringing students back to on-campus learning and living at the start of the fall 2021 semester, we expected much of the responsibility of contact tracing and COVID-19 care to fall on the university. But, as we’ve seen these practices play out, it’s clear much of the responsibility falls on us — the students.
Since the university is failing its students, it’s up to us to pick up the slack and protect ourselves.
A positive COVID-19 test means different things for different students. For those of us who are fully vaccinated and are lucky enough to have good health, it might be an inconvenience. But, the person who sits next to you in class might be battling a chronic illness, or they could have a family member going through chemotherapy or maybe they have a child at home who’s too young to get the vaccine.
This may seem like an unfamiliar situation, but it’s happening right here in Chicago. Just this week, the mother of a Chicago Public School student died of COVID-19 after her child was quarantined due to a positive case in his class, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
In any case, you don’t know what your neighbor is going through. Reporting your COVID-19 diagnosis to the university, and being open and transparent with the people you come in close contact with, is your obligation as a Loyola student.
The university’s COVID-19 dashboard doesn’t report positive cases students self-report after being tested at a third party testing site, such as CVS or a community testing site, The Phoenix reported.
It’s also on students who choose to get tested somewhere other than Loyola to notify the university so it can begin contact tracing. But, only students who sit within 6 feet of a positive student are notified, The Phoenix reported.
That means the person you sit next to on the shuttle, someone you talk to at a party or someone you interact with during club meetings won’t know they’ve been in contact with someone who’s COVID-positive unless you tell them.
As college students, we know the stress that comes with having to miss two weeks of classes if you test positive for COVID-19. There’s a real possibility students aren’t getting tested when they start to cough or run a fever in fear their academics will be upended by a positive diagnosis. But, your two weeks of missing class could be the difference of life or death for the people you come in contact with.
Cura personalis. It’s time to actually put what we’ve learned to work. Be honest and transparent with your COVID-19 diagnosis — you could be saving a life.