Title IX Holds “Let’s Talk About Sex” Program Series

Written By: Angelie Roche

For the past three Thursdays – Oct. 29, Nov. 5, and Nov. 12 – St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s (SMCM) Title IX office held a program series called “Let’s Talk About Sex”. The three programs, which centered around topics that may not have been covered by traditional high school sex education curriculums, were formatted in a seminar-type discussion wherein a presentation would be given and afterwards participants were encouraged to talk about their experiences. Title IX Investigator Helen Ann Lawless, along with a new group she calls the “Sex Ed Avengers,” worked to create a safe environment in which all students felt comfortable with asking questions and participating in discussions. The three presentations were entitled “COVID-19 & Chill: Sex & Relationships during the Pandemic,” “Queering Sex Ed & Safer Sex Practices,” and “Sexual Citizenship: Your Right to a Stellar Sex Life.”

The first presentation, which occurred on Oct. 29, addressed a question many young people have struggled with recently — how can one navigate sex and relationships during COVID-19? The best way to reduce your chance of exposure, according to the Peer Health Educators, is solo sex as COVID-19 is primarily spread through close contact. Mainly, they urged students to be “gentle and patient with [themselves and their] partners” as this is a stressful time for everyone. On Nov. 5, “Queering Sex Ed & Safer Sex Practices” defined queer sexual and gender identities encompassed by the LGBTQ+ community, and instructed viewers on condom and contraceptive use. Finally, “Sexual Citizenship” covered consent, hook-up culture, and destigmatizing different types of sex. Altogether, the programs addressed a wide variety of popular topics that high school curriculums may have failed to address, helping SMCM students learn about consent, safe sex, and healthy relationships.

Normally, SMCM would have brought in speakers to address sexual health and consent education, but due to the coronavirus, it was harder to find them. So, the student “Sex Ed Avengers” took the task into their own hands, covering subjects that they felt had been lacking in their past experiences with sex education. Freshman Claire Stephenson, who was able to become involved with Title IX in her first semester, says she was eager to teach others about safer sex from the beginning of her time at St. Mary’s; after seeing a slide about contacting Helen Ann Lawless during the Consent Education lesson at Freshman Orientation, she took the opportunity right away. She argues that high schools place more emphasis on sexual shame than pleasure and consent, which can be detrimental to students’ sexual health; “people will have healthier relationships with their own minds and bodies,” she says, “if we break down the shame people feel around sex.” Stephenson hopes that her contribution to the “Let’s Talk About Sex” series will help students overcome the negative stigma surrounding sex and grow to feel comfortable with their identities and experiences. 

If you were unable to attend the fall semester sessions and are still interested in Sex Education, do not worry —the “Sex Ed Avengers” and the Title IX Office plan to continue this series in the Spring, again covering topics they feel are essential to creating healthy relationships and sex lives. While many high schools leave out important information regarding sex, consent and pleasure, the “Avengers” have made it their mission to fill in the gaps. 

Psi Chi Holds Virtual Blood Drive

Written By: Angelie Roche

From Oct. 18 through the end of the year, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) chapter of Psi Chi is holding a virtual blood drive available to all SMCM students and staff. While blood drives are normally held in person during a single day, Psi Chi’s blood drive allows students to donate at any time, from anywhere in the U.S. To participate, simply use the QR code from one of the flyers around campus or on the St. Mary’s website, or enter the link into your browser. For those looking to help their community over the winter break, donating blood is a perfect way to do so. 

Psi Chi is the International Honor Society in Psychology, an organization that not only aims to help undergraduate psychology majors succeed, but to also participate in community outreach. In the past, they have contributed to mental health-related events such as Relay for Life and regularly offer student services such as tutoring. This semester in particular, the leaders of its St. Mary’s chapter felt that a blood drive would be the perfect way for the student body to contribute to the health of their respective communities, even after going home for winter break. According to Service Coordinator MK Meyers, this is Psi Chi’s first year holding a blood drive event, as it was mainly generated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Donating blood, she says, is “an amazing way that almost anyone can save lives and contribute to COVID research.” 

According to the American Red Cross, it is now more important than ever before to give blood as it is not only constantly used in hospital and emergency care settings, but it can contribute to vitally important coronavirus research. Donating is completely safe, and all blood is checked for coronavirus antibodies – information that could be important for not only research but for the individual giving blood. Though people are going out less frequently, the need for blood in medical settings has not decreased at all. As the US Surgeon General stated back in March: “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”

Donating blood, even during COVID-19 times, is simple and rewarding — not only could you find out whether or not your blood contains COVID-19 antibodies, you could potentially help a lot of people in your community. Simply sign up to donate blood or plasma at a blood bank near you, donate, and use Psi Chi’s link to let the club know you participated. Meyers also encourages all SMCM students to donate and share their experiences on social media using the tag #psichiblooddrive, saying that the drive is a perfect opportunity where “everyone could feel a part of community efforts to heal the sick, fragmented as we are.”

COVID and SMCM: A Semester to Remember

Written By: Angelie Roche

The 2020 Fall semester was one many will remember for years to come; because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of campus life at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) changed drastically. For one, there were heightened regulations —students were expected to wear masks everywhere on campus (indoors and outdoors) besides their personal living spaces, maintain a safe social distance and wash their hands frequently. Many first-year students who otherwise would have had roommates instead lived in single rooms to limit the spread, and a large number of SMCM students spent the semester at home completing classes online. Additionally, SMCM staff has undergone changes as well, having to constantly monitor COVID-19 numbers and making sure students and staff follow the guidelines they put into place. 

With the ongoing pandemic, many students did not have the traditional “college experience” they had expected. With such a large number of students being placed in single rooms, many found it harder to make connections with others on campus, but some found the experience to be not as bad as they thought. First year student Katya Scott, who had originally signed up for a double room but switched to a single because of health concerns, said that she “felt a lot safer” without a roommate, even though living alone was not her original plan. 

Other students stayed home entirely, taking all of their classes online. Freshman Emma Huckabee, who would have been a commuter student, was among those who decided to attend her classes remotely. She had mixed feelings about her first semester at SMCM; as a music major, it was especially difficult to navigate classes as live performances could not take place. However, she said she was “pleasantly surprised” by how her professors and fellow classmates adapted to the situation, making the semester enjoyable nonetheless. “Besides missing the experience of performing music live, I don’t think I’ve lost much of what I looked forward to,” she said. “I’ve made great connections, and every class has been engaging and interactive.”

For the Wellness Center staff, this semester has been hectic, full of surprises and very different than anything they had dealt with in the past. Director Laurie Scherer explains that the Center does not usually spend so much time dealing with one specific crisis; normally, the Center would be abuzz with giving students medication and providing counseling, but this semester their primary focus has been dealing with the coronavirus, from answering community concerns to talking to worried students who are afraid of getting the notorious test. However, Scherer says she is grateful for how well students have followed COVID-19 guidelines, keeping the weekly dashboard mostly free of cases and the isolation beds empty. There was only one major COVID-19 spike near the beginning of the semester, due to students moving in who had already been exposed, but afterwards SMCM has been able to maintain a mostly COVID-free community. 

What Scherer is most concerned with now is how safe students will be when they return home for winter break. “We’ve been good on campus,” she says, “but I’m concerned about when students disperse… with cold weather prompting more indoor activities, winter is a tough time for viral illnesses.” She believes that the Spring semester, which begins Jan. 20, will look very similar to the fall — with no clear endpoint in sight, it seems that the coronavirus will continue to impact college life for at least another semester. Her advice for the upcoming break is for students to continue following the coronavirus guidelines. Even though the administration has no way of monitoring how safe students will be when they return home, Scherer urges that students be mindful about where they travel and who they interact with. If everyone does their part, hopefully the spring semester will be just as successful as the fall.

STARS Presents The Cult Classic Rocky Horror Picture Show

Written By: Angelie Roche 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The St. Mary’s Triangle and Rainbow Society (STARS) presented four showings of the 1975 musical comedy The Rocky Horror Picture Show in  Cole Cinema during the Halloween weekend. The shows, which featured live performances and free snacks, occurred at 8:30pm and 12am on Oct. 30 and 31, respectively. In order to follow COVID-19 protocols, 30 people were allowed in the theater at one time, and seats were properly distanced. The staff also handed out individually-wrapped snacks with gloves to ensure all students’ safety. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which was based upon a 1973 musical production, was considered to be one of the most progressive films of the 1970s. Written to be a tribute to science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930s, it is centered around a young couple, Brad and Janet, whose visit to their former science teacher is cut short by a terrible storm and a flat tire. Seeking shelter and a telephone, the two come across a mysterious castle containing all sorts of strangely dressed people whom Brad judges to be “party guests”. Later, though, they discover the castle is run by a transvestite alien named Dr. Frank N. Furter, a mad scientist who is creating a muscle man named Rocky in his laboratory. Later, Frank N. Furter seduces both Brad and Janet separately, causing chaos to ensue. 

When the movie was first released, it received bad reviews from critics for its unusual content. However, it became a well-known midnight movie in the years following and audience members began dressing as characters in the film. Eventually, audience participation became a vital part of every showing, as the production began incorporating a “shadow cast” that lip-synced along to the characters and performed along with the movie. The audience members are expected to participate as well, reacting to certain scenes by shouting at the characters, wearing newspapers over their heads, and dancing the “Time Warp”. Rocky Horror’s cult following continues to grow, and forty-five years after the first showing, it is the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It is often shown on or near Halloween at the stroke of midnight, and those who are “virgins”(those who have never seen the show before) are often made to undergo an “initiation”. 

According to STARS president Calvin Ryan, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has several themes relevant to the LGBTQ+ community, including sexual liberation and “embracing one’s queerness and individuality”. While Frank N. Furter is the villain of the film, the fact that it featured him as an openly queer main character was quite progressive for its time. The midnight showings became popular among the LGBTQ+ community of the 1970s and 80s, as lines of oddly-dressed people outside theaters every Saturday night attracted much attention. The film, though outdated in some ways, is still important to LGBTQ+ individuals today. SMCM’s production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show was unique in several ways, as it had to take into account COVID-19 guidelines and social distancing requirements. Because of this, seats in the Cole Cinema were taped off, replaced by balloons which featured the characters’ faces. Additionally, the showing did not feature a live cast, but still encouraged audience participation. Before the showing, Rainbow Room staff held a series of contests – from a “mask on” lip syncing battle to songs such as I Want it That Way and Uptown Funk, to a competition wherein audience members who called someone and confessed their love in front of everyone received prizes. Despite restrictions, the STARS club was able to bring The Rocky Horror Picture Show to life, COVID-style.

Increased COVID-19 Particles Detected in St. Mary’s County Wastewater

Written By: Angelie Roche

On Oct. 16, officials in St. Mary’s County, notified residents that they found elevated levels of viral particles containing COVID-19 in the county’s wastewater. These particles, which are shed by individuals who have the virus, can provide an indication of COVID-19 spread in the area, according to Dr. Meena Brewster, a St. Mary’s County Health Department officer. The samples were collected from a variety of wastewater treatment facilities throughout the county through a collaborative initiative between St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission and the St. Mary’s County Health Department. 

Beginning in May of 2020, officials began monitoring the wastewater of St. Mary’s County after considering a plethora of scientific evidence proving that the water can contain measurable particles of the coronavirus, which can indicate a spike in cases. This sort of testing has many benefits; it is a way to collect a non-biased sample of the whole community, rather than just those who receive tests. Wastewater monitoring is not new —it gained worldwide attention in the 1990s, when it was used to track the spread of the polio virus in efforts to eradicate the life-threatening condition. Though a vaccine had already been widely distributed at that point, the poliovirus was able to spread without its noticeable symptoms, allowing it to spread undetected in many communities where it was thought to have been extinct. Officials, then, used infection information gained from wastewater samples to vaccinate entire communities whose samples indicated the presence of the poliovirus.

While the wastewater testing used now is similar to that of the 1990s, the current situation differs significantly. First, there is not a vaccine for COVID-19, so officials cannot respond to wastewater monitoring by vaccinating entire communities to prevent further spread. Additionally, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease while polio was spread mainly through feces, so scientists were surprised when they found that the coronavirus can be present in an infected person’s digestive tract, meaning that wastewater monitoring could be an indicator of the disease. According to a virological assessment of hospital patients which took place earlier this year, viral shedding present in infected people outlasts the presence of symptoms; in fact, the particles are excreted primarily during the “non-infective” stage for up to several weeks. 

Many are wondering what the recent wastewater spike means for residents of St. Mary’s County and students of SMCM. At this point, the answer sounds all too familiar: all students must continue to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With Halloween approaching, students may be tempted to attend parties or large gatherings, but recent spikes in COVID-19 indicate that individuals ought to be more cautious than ever, especially considering the recent results of the wastewater testing in St. Mary’s County. Though the SMCM COVID-19 Dashboard still continuously displays little to no positive cases on campus each week, it is still possible that the virus could be present but undetected. To ensure that no further spread occurs, students ought to continue to wear masks, wash their hands, monitor their symptoms, and follow the College’s COVID guidelines.

Spring Semester Schedule Announced

Written By: Angelie Roche

On Monday, Oct. 19, the Office of the Registrar released the academic calendar for the Spring 2021 semester. The format of the semester is similar to that of Fall 2020 as it is condensed, and ends earlier than normal in order to prevent students from going off-campus for extended periods of time and possibly becoming exposed to the coronavirus. St. Mary’s Project presentations will occur on April 26 and 27, final exams will take place between April 29 and May 4 and Commencement is scheduled for May 8 — roughly a week earlier than it would normally have been. The semester, which runs from Jan. 19 through April 27, will include two short “mental health breaks” rather than a longer spring break. The one-to two-day-long breaks are scheduled for Friday, March 5 and Friday, April 2 to Monday, April 5, spaced so that there are about six weeks between each break. 

While the College’s administration noted that they believed the shorter breaks were intended to ensure the safety and mental wellbeing of its students, some St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) students believe that more could have been done. SMCM freshman Breanna Berry says that the mental health breaks should not be called “breaks,” as they are only one day, and that is not a sufficient amount of time for students to truly relax and decompress. Many share similar views, but recognize that even short breaks are extremely important stress relievers. Now more than ever, anxiety levels among college students are extremely high. A study conducted at Texas A&M University earlier this year found that 71% of students reported greater stress, anxiety, and depression due to COVID-19. Reasons for this sharp decline in mental health ranged from decreased social interactions to fear about the health of loved ones, and, of course, academic concerns. Though SMCM had no official breaks this semester, their plan to at least allow students some time to decompress will likely be welcomed by many.

Some students, however, fear the breaks will only heighten the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak. SMCM junior Dylan Parham understands that the college shortened breaks to protect against COVID-19; however, he says that a three-day weekend will not prevent students from leaving campus. He observed that “if you go to Lot R (in between Lewis Quad and Warring Commons) it is half empty without fail each weekend,” so students are still leaving campus despite SMCM’s strict policies. Though administration can condense the semester by providing less breaks, they still do not have complete control over students’ activities; it would be nearly impossible for them to attempt to monitor when students leave the campus, and where they are going. However, the College continues to advise students to wear masks and practice social distancing in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines in order to ensure their own safety, as well as the safety of the SMCM community.

She Kills Monsters Streaming on Vimeo

Written By: Angelie Roche

Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed theater productions worldwide; due to concerns about social distancing, lack of audiences, and a myriad of other problems, many small theater companies have ceased productions altogether. However, some have found creative solutions; from online showings to Zoom performances, the theater industry has slowly learned to adapt to the ongoing pandemic. St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s (SMCM) theater department is no exception, as they have been working tirelessly through the pandemic to find a production style that would follow the College’s guidelines. Beginning on Oct. 16, they will be streaming a three-episode production of Qui Nyugen’s comedy-drama “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms, a play designed specifically for online performance. 

“She Kills Monsters” will be performed by an ensemble of 16 SMCM students, and tells the story of a high school cheerleader, Agnes, following the death of her younger sister Tilly. Agnes finds Tilly’s “Dungeons and Dragons” notebook, and through it she discovers the world her sister loved: one that was full of mythical creatures and tons of imaginary play. According to the production’s page on the St. Mary’s website, this story offers a “heart-pounding and heart-wrenching homage to the geek and warrior within us all,” and is fit for anyone looking to escape to a fantasy world and embark on an adventure without even having to leave their room. 

According to Alyssa Heintzelman, who plays the character Lillith, the production was a completely new experience for everyone in the St. Mary’s theater department. To record, the actors went to Montgomery hall, where they were each assigned a space fitted with a green screen and sound and lighting equipment. With this setup, there were challenges unique to digital performance; it was difficult to obtain professional recording technology and figure out how to make the production work for all actors, even those who were not on campus. Despite these, Heintzelman says that she was surprised by how close the cast became despite not being in person — in her words, they “stayed connected through Discord, participated in socially-distanced hangouts, and even started [their] own D&D campaign.”Though it is not possible to go to a theater and see this performance in person, St. Mary’s theater department has made sure this production will be available to all students online. The three episodes, which are about 30-35 minutes long, will be streaming on four dates: Oct. 16, 20, 23 and 24, available to view anytime from 12:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. On the first three dates, the performance will be split into sections, but on Oct. 24, it will be shown in its entirety. In order to make reservations, students must email the Theater Box Office at boxoffice@smcm.edu, specifying which episodes they would like to view on which dates, and the Box Office will respond with a time sensitive Vimeo passcode with which they can access the show. While there is not one set ticket price for students, the Theater Department asks that each person “pays what [they] can” at the Theater Box Office in Montgomery Hall.

Wellness Center Distributes Free Flu Shots

Written By: Angelie Roche

On Oct. 7, 9 and 13, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Wellness Center provided free flu shots for all students, faculty and staff at the Aldom Lounge. Students were able to reserve a timeslot online beforehand in an effort to adhere to social distancing protocols. In addition, upon entering the Lounge, recipients were asked to procure their SMCM ID and Daily Symptom Check. According to Laurie Scherer, director of the Wellness Center, over 400 members of the St. Mary’s community signed up to receive shots during those dates. This number is approximated, though, because the Wellness Center also allowed people who had not signed up to walk in and request shots. 

Getting a flu shot each year is the best way to reduce the risk of contracting influenza, a virus which shares many symptoms with the novel coronavirus, according to Penn Medicine. Both are respiratory diseases which can present in a variety of ways, ranging from asymptomatic or mild to extremely deadly. They are also both transmitted through respiratory droplets. The key difference is that influenza has a lower incubation period, meaning it can spread faster, but the coronavirus’ reproductive number and mortality rates are both higher. 

With COVID-19 going around, students may think that it is not as important to protect themselves against the flu, but this is not the case: while getting the flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, it could save valuable medical resources that are in short supply. Additionally, contracting influenza still carries the risk of hospitalization and death; though that risk is low, it is better to be safe than sorry. Receiving a flu shot protects not only one’s own health but the health of others, and SMCM’s Wellness staff is doing its best to make the process as simple as possible. 

When a student or staff member arrived at the Aldom Lounge to receive their shot, they were each handed a pen and clipboard with one page of information to fill out. In order to guard against COVID, each clipboard was sanitized afterward and pens were not reused. Afterwards, Wellness staff provided some information about the vaccine and then gave the shot —a process which altogether took no more than 5 minutes for most people. According to Freshman Niamh Connell, who went on Oct. 13, the procedure was surprisingly easy, and  “everyone did what they could to ensure COVID guidelines were being followed.” The best thing, she said, was its convenience — students did not have to fill out any insurance or unnecessary personal information, making the process quick and efficient. Finally, a major benefit was that the shots were free, making them accessible to all SMCM students who wanted to do their part to help the community.

Peer Health Educators Set to Host Stomp Out Stigma 5K

Written By: Angelie Roche

On October 10-17, St. Mary’s College of Maryland(SMCM)’s Peer Health Educators will be hosting a “Stomp Out  Stigma” 5K run/walk for suicide awareness. According to the SMCM website, the 5K is “meant to raise awareness of suicide on college campuses, decrease the stigma associated with conversations around suicide and mental health, and increase help-seeking behaviors by members of our community.” Along with many other events on campus, “Stomp Out Stigma”, which is usually hosted completely in-person, had to adapt to coronavirus-related changes. Instead of occuring on a single Saturday, the event will be open online for a week so participants can log their miles at their own convenience.  

The 5K event has been going on for the past six years and means a lot to the entire SMCM community. Brandy Baggerly, the Peer Education Fellow, says its goal is to “get a healthy conversation started surrounding suicide awareness,” especially since suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 15-34(CDC). Although statistics show that this is certainly an issue many college students face, it is not discussed often, leaving individuals to suffer in silence. According to the National Journal of Public Health, the stigma surrounding mental illnesses can present itself in many ways, from a “stoic” attitude to social isolation and, most importantly, a lack of awareness. These factors all play into students’ reluctance to seek help.

 In 2018, a study by the Harvard Medical School found that as many as one in five college students reported thoughts of suicide, with minorities being particularly at risk. The author of this study, Dr. Cindy Liu, explained that college can be a “phase of life where young people are confronted with expectations from new relationships and living situations and other encounters that are stressful.” Though some students are able to adapt to these changes, others collapse under the anxiety they cause, and without a supportive community, are at risk for depression or other mental illnesses. With this in mind, it is important to reach out to those who are in need of support and “Stomp Out Stigma” is a great way to start. Baggerly says that participating in the 5K not only raises suicide awareness, but it shows solidarity to those who are struggling and provides space to start a conversation on suicide awareness. Whether or not we are aware of it, many students in college communities — St. Mary’s included — are suffering with mental illnesses, depression, and thoughts of suicide. With the existing stigma, it can be hard to educate yourself on ways to offer support to those around you, but a great way to start is to attend the “Stomp Out Stigma” 5K. For more information on how to participate, simply visit the Peer Health Educators’ Instagram @peerheathsmcm, find one of their flyers around campus or on InsideSMCM, or follow the link at http://tiny.cc/Stompout. Though the current dialogue is far from comfortable with topics pertaining to mental health, SMCM’s Peer Health Educators are continuing to seek ways to foster a supportive environment for everyone in our community.  

Wellness Center Begins Surveillance Testing

Written By: Angelie Roche

As knowledge about COVID-19 at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) evolves, new protocols and standards are constantly being put in place by college administration and the Wellness Center. The newest procedure is surveillance testing, which began on September 20 after a recommendation by SMCM President Jordan. According to the St. Mary’s website, this means that a random sampling of college students, faculty and staff will be tested every two weeks between now and the end of the semester. Once an individual is chosen, they will be removed from the pool and will not be tested again. The rationale behind this policy is that it provides a clearer picture of how the St. Mary’s community is handling the COVID-19 pandemic as a whole, rather than solely relying on symptomatic individuals’ reports. 

Director of the Wellness Center Laurie Scherer says that the college administration decided to enact the policy using information from the University of Maryland system schools, the Centers for Disease Control and Maryland health departments in order to “choose the best approaches to assessing the risk of COVID-19 on our campus.” She views surveillance testing not as an added burden, but as the next step in measuring community positivity rates, a process designed to keep St. Mary’s students, faculty and staff safe and healthy.

At the beginning of the fall semester, many colleges and universities across the United States announced a myriad of different reopening policies that they believed would keep their students and campuses safe. However, some of those policies proved to be ineffective over time, with large universities such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill closing just a week after re-opening, costing students and the college itself millions of dollars in losses. For those afraid that SMCM will have a similar fate, though, it is clear St. Mary’s has taken extra measures to ensure community safety throughout the semester. First, the College had students show proof of a negative test before they came to campus and enacted a phased reopening policy, which significantly lowered the possibility of community spread in the first few weeks. The new surveillance testing policy, in addition to safety procedures which are already in place, is meant to measure ongoing risk as the semester progresses.

When asked about the possibility of the campus shutting down, Scherer assures that the decision to send students home would “not be made lightly.” There is no one event or set number of cases that would cause St. Mary’s to close its doors; rather, it is a decision that would be made on a case-by-case basis. One important factor would be a spike in cases or a clear increased risk, which surveillance testing helps to indicate. She urges that students should continue to follow the COVID-19 procedures put in place in order to keep our number of cases low. Scherer also wished to remind students that the Wellness Center is providing a 24/7 helpline available during this uniquely stressful time, which has St. Mary’s therapists available at all hours of the day. It can be reached at 240-895-4200.