CSI to lean on previous experience in COVID-19 decisions

“Fortunately, we’re well prepared for that because we have been practicing for it for the past two years.”
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:52 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —Throughout the pandemic, the common idea has been that young people are less susceptible to severe illness from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the Department of Health and Welfare is trying to reverse that idea due to the impact it can have on them and the community.

“While younger people and children tend to fare better than adults,” said Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen, “COVID-19 still negatively affects them.”

The omicron surge of COVID-19 here in Southern Idaho is being fueled by the age group 18-29.

The College of Southern Idaho’s Provost Dr. Todd Schwarz says the school is keeping similar protocols for this surge as they had for previous spikes.

“We have had a little bit of a spike the last few days, or week, and we’re expecting that to continue,” said Dr. Schwarz. “Fortunately, we’re well prepared for that because we have been practicing for it for the past two years.”

Dr. Schwarz tells KMVT he is confident in the school’s self-reporting system, saying the school has fallen in line with the trends of the community, seeing peaks and valleys in cases that match that of Southern Idaho as a whole.

Around the campus, signs listing suggested masking and distancing can be found. But with a uniquely contagious variant of the virus spreading through the region, KMVT asked if those suggestions may become requirements.

“I don’t want us to sound like a heartless institution, that we don’t take those things seriously, but frankly, I’m not predicting that we’ll do any further mitigation,” Dr. Schwarz said, “But time will tell.”

Dr. Schwarz says the College acts as a mirror to the community, citing lack of mandates about masking and distancing in Twin Falls as reasons to not enforce it on campus.

But, as an institution of education, KMVT asked why CSI doesn’t take on the role of example rather than a mirror for the community by enforcing a mask and distancing mandate.

“I don’t really have a good answer to that question, honestly, other than to say that we have been in agreement that that’s not where we want to be.”

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