Libraries, colleges and sports organizations across the state are grappling with the realities of the ongoing public health crisis. Their prevailing approach can be summed up as proceed with caution and adjust as necessary as COVID-19 positivity rates rise and the omicron variant spreads.
Here are a few examples of how institutions are reacting and coping with pandemic concerns, as reported recently in the Record-Journal.
The Meriden Public Library has canceled in-person programming indefinitely as most upcoming events involved children. That demographic has only recently been approved for vaccination. Staff will likely re-evaluate bringing back in-person activities in mid-January, until then programs will be online only.
Other area libraries are largely keeping existing protocols in place while monitoring the rising positivity rates.
Wallingford Public Library is evaluating operations on a day-by-day basis, but thus far has made no changes to existing protocols. Programs offer in-person and online options. Southington Public Library has only a few programs scheduled and staff is monitoring the situation.
Some area colleges and universities have already implemented new protocols while others are preparing for possible changes.
Along with an ongoing indoor mask policy, UConn has launched a program to analyze wastewater around campus. This will help detect the virus and narrow down where testing should take place. For now, plans for the spring semester at UConn are similar to the fall, but a spokesperson said the school is ready to make changes if needed.
The University of Hartford is taking the same tack. A spokesperson said the school is monitoring the variant and will change protocols in the spring as needed.
At Quinnipiac University, all students, regardless of vaccination status, must submit a negative COVID-19 test before they return to campus at the end of January. Wesleyan University is requiring the booster for all students, staff and faculty by Jan. 14.
The state Department of Public Health recently announced that all high school, recreational and youth athletes in Connecticut must continue to wear masks while competing this winter. The requirement was due to end Dec. 23 in CIAC high school sports for vaccinated athletes. But on Dec. 22, the CIAC announced that everyone is back in the same boat due to the omicron variant. A few sports will permit removing the mask while competing.
Libraries are encouraging patrons to get vaccinated. Colleges and universities have strict policies on vaccinations and testing. All around the usual protocols are in place when it comes to masks and other measures. Those institutions, along with sports organizations, are in close contact with health officials for guidance.
There’s nothing ground-breaking, remarkable or headline grabbing about these measures. These are basic, practical tactics that require patience and perseverance. Exactly what this situation demands. This is a time that calls for plodding along, doing what needs to be done and keeping safe for as long as it takes.