Usually, it feels like adding an administrative board on a college campus is a waste of time. They make people do more work, sometimes leave others confused and mostly cost money.

But of course, this is the COVID-19 year, where classmates and professors get sick, UM rituals like the Foresters’ Ball aren’t happening, and a trip to the Curry Health Center could end with 10 days alone in a room with a globally-spread respiratory illness. When shit hits the fan, and you are still trying to figure out why the fan was turned on, it’s time for some good ol’ fashioned teamwork.

UM’s COVID-19 task force will reach its first birthday this month, after spending the past year coordinating the University’s response to the pandemic. Its members, from across departments and specialties, meet every week to look at the hard facts of the pandemic.

Using that information, they planned out our quarantine spaces, released our campus COVID-19 numbers at the beginning of last semester and handled the little questions in between. To say that our school did not look out for us isn’t true.

In a time when communication isn’t just important, but incredibly vital to sustaining an in-person campus community, it’s far from just a small comfort to receive regular updates from a centralized task force like this one. 

So, we want to take a second to thank our campus COVID-19 task force members. Because, yeah, it’s sucked to not have a normal college experience. Yeah, we’ve all lost a lot. But UM’s campus is still open. We’re able to go to in-person classes, for the most part. If we can’t attend class in person, we’ve got coordinated virtual options, too. There’s talk of in-person commencement this year. All of these things are not small feats in a time like this.

The coordination it takes to do all of this, to adjust entire course schedules and classrooms to follow public health guidelines, to cancel campus-wide extracurriculars, to help roll out Curry’s response and resources, and to keep us all informed about the process? None of that is going unnoticed.

And we’ve seen results. Our campus COVID-19 numbers have dropped, and task force emails are slowly but surely transitioning to information on vaccines and testing, all while each member of the team has their own important role in running the day-to-day at UM.

We’re all a part of the same community. We’re all fighting this together. And we at the Kaimin are happy to see the results of a UM-created task force for this past year.


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