Task Force Newsletter: 3 Questions for BSG Co-presidents
Hello, Beloiters! We’re midway through March, the (basketball) madness has begun, and vaccines are becoming more widely available. This is your weekly COVID-19 update for the Beloit community.
Rock County remains at high risk level for COVID-19 infections
News reports indicate a slight divergence in the average number of cases in both Rock and Winnebago counties, with Rock County at seven cases per 100,000, and Winnebago County increasing slightly, to 10 cases per 100,000 people. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 24 percent of Wisconsin’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 13 percent of the population has received two.
Wisconsin vaccine rollout continues; no time to let down our guard
Beginning Monday, Individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infection will be eligible for the vaccine. Underlying conditions include such things as asthma, cancer, chronic kidney disease, obesity, and a weakened immune system.
CDC officials continue to encourage all of us to comply with mask regulations, to continue practicing physical distancing and rigorous hand hygiene, and avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.
Three questions for BSG Co-presidents Nayomi Neelangal and Deepakshi Bhwardj
How is this semester going for you two?
This semester has turned out to be an adventurous one. For me personally, the semester so far has been about taking corrective measures from the previous semester. Although the novelty of the mod system is gone, the novelty of challenges remains a residue. It has been a process of learning, unlearning, adapting, and innovating. The extended winter break did enable me to reflect and grow on a personal level and this semester gave me yet again a refreshing start to continue working on myself.
The semester is going pretty well. With the module system, it definitely gets hectic at times but overall the semester has been rewarding. Since an official decision has been made to discontinue the module system from next semester onward, mostly the students are happy and are looking forward to this return to normalcy. A major part of this semester being better is this feeling of the “beginning of an end,” with the staff getting vaccinated and the reduced COVID cases on campus. I know this is just the beginning and this is definitely not the time to let our guard down; however, it is reassuring to know that everything that the campus community did to battle the pandemic was not in vain. Overall, this semester is unraveling as one full of positive news.
What are you most looking forward to when we can “return to normal?”
With the stronger and improved Covid-19 policies being enforced by the College, and the vaccination program, which felt like a long wait for, happening at Beloit, I am eagerly looking forward to reaching a point of feeling collective accomplishment when we all will have successfully gotten our vaccines, knowing that we made it through one of the most challenging times of our lives so far. Of course, getting the vaccine would not mean the end of COVID-19, but will be a milestone reached! I cannot fully imagine what “normalcy” would mean, but it definitely would look like being able to recreate memories and moments with our close ones, having understood and appreciating the biggest lesson we took from COVID in the past year, which is TO CARE - for ourselves and for our loved ones.
If I express my most candid feelings, I am sincerely looking forward to being able to enjoy in-person events and the amazing programming that Beloit College always organizes throughout the year. With the Task Force now allowing safe in-person programming with prior approval and adherence to all the COVID precautions, it seems like we are on the path to “return to normalcy.” It still might be a long wait until we can continue our lives like it was pre-COVID, I am not even sure if mankind would be able to revert to living like that in the grander scheme of events. However, little changes like these around me give me a sense of comfort that slowly but surely we are indeed going back to normal.
What are your priorities for student government this semester?
Being able to return to campus, have an active campus college-experience in the middle of a pandemic is a blessing and a privilege that we want to acknowledge, respect, and remember for the rest of the time. That being said, one of the highest priorities at the moment for the Beloit Student Government is to keep working hard to uphold the richness of a true Beloit experience, while the pandemic exists.
To achieve this, we focused on strengthening the BSG Communications team. This makes us ready to dive into working on our social media presence, editorial content, publications, and our reach into more branched channels of student groups on campus. These goals involve collaborating with various channels and groups on campus that are led by student leaders. We also realized that the underclassmen feel a certain disconnect to the campus community given that they transitioned to college in a very uncertain time and were unable to experience Beloit in a way that they otherwise would have. We are working with the President Scott Bierman, and Provost Eric Boynton to host virtual coffee hours for anyone to join to allow the students to witness the true nature of the Beloit community and be a part of it. Eventually, we aim to have various staff members as a part of these coffee hours to allow the students to know who they are and be able to connect with them in a better manner.
As Nayomi mentioned, one of our major goals is to establish open channels of communication with the student body so we can relay their thoughts, opinions, needs, and ideas to the administration in a more efficient manner and find viable solutions. Another way in which we are trying to accomplish this goal is through extending the presence and role of the Clubs and Organizations Oversight (COO). Student clubs and organizations took a hit during the pandemic because not much programming could be done. COO is now set to work with the club presidents and COO representatives to find innovative ways to bring the campus back to life with robust programming and event ideas.
We are also working on creating more opportunities to have in-person outdoor events approved by the Task Force during the second Mod, considering the beautiful weather that we are eagerly awaiting. Our goal is to introduce programming by the BSG as an organization as well. These events would not have a set theme, however, the main goal would be to bring the community closer together.
Our vision is to make the BSG be seen as an organization that represents student values at Beloit and therefore, we believe it is crucial to establish that root-level connection with the students on campus.
Question of the Week
If I am eligible for the vaccine, where do I get it?
If you qualify by having one of these conditions, you can get vaccinated by your doctor or health care provider, pharmacies, community-based vaccination clinics, such as Blackhawk Technical College, or your local health department (we are in Rock County.) If you have questions about your eligibility or about the vaccine in general, please direct them to Tara Girard, Health and Wellness Center Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of the Week
Some future Beloiters and their families will visit campus this weekend. If you see someone who looks like they could use some help, show them your Beloit pride. From a distance, of course.
The COVID-19 Task Force