Subcommittee on Health and Safety No Longer Meeting

The Subcommittee on Health and Safety has not met this semester and does not plan to. A member of the committee, Debra Hargrove, Vice President of Human Resource Services, explained that the purpose of the committee was to assist Dickinson College in their COVID-19 protocols. She said, “In the spring of 2020, the college formed an implementation committee to guide our COVID response. A number of subcommittees, including health & safety, were formed at this time. The implementation committee and its various subcommittees were comprised of faculty, staff and students,” the subcommittee on Health and Safety being one of those created. 

The subcommittee’s only student representative, Katrina Faulkner ’23,  said “I think that the main thing is that the school is backing away from treating it as an emergency response” she explained that one of the reasons the committee is no longer meeting regularly is that they are relying on students to self-manage the disease, “Their rationale is that, just as other students deal with the flu, strep throat, mono, all things that go through campus, [the subcommittee is]are relying on a similar plan [to handle COVID].”

Faulkner continued, “They…have been considering  [COVID-19] more endemically.” “The big thing is that the subcommittee was always treating COVID how the CDC said we should treat COVID. So as the CDC became more lenient, so did Dickinson College.”

Although the subcommittee’s main focus has been managing the college’s response to COVID-19, they have also been responsible for the removal of a large quantities of the college’s paper towels, the discontinuation of asymptomatic COVID testing, and the removal of the COVID-19 dashboard from the Dickinson College website front page.

Hargrove said that the COVID-19 dashboard was removed from Dickinson’s main website page because “Information on COVID is available on the Wellness Center webpages and on the HR services webpages…We felt these were the best locations to update this information as we moved away from COVID emergency response to living with COVID as one of many highly contagious illnesses.”

When asked why the committee is no longer  meeting, especially considering during the first couple of weeks a significant proportion of the student body tested positive for COVID-19, Hargrove responded with: “Monitoring the health of our community is a part of the college’s typical emergency response protocols. The Emergency Management Team can call upon members of the community, including those from the H&S subcommittee as needed.”

When describing her own personal experience with COVID-19, Faulkner said she was “knocked out by it” and that it took her over a month to fully recover. She also stressed, as the only student on the committee, there is only so much she feels comfortable saying, and that she did not agree with all the policies implemented by the subcommittee as a whole.