Ingrid Solsaa

Get tested for COVID-19 after SpringFest

April 28, 2022

After two years of canceling SpringFest, the University announced the show’s return this year, according to the UPB’s Website.

UVM dropped its mask mandate March 19 and lowered other COVID-19 restrictions, according to a March 16 email from UVM Forward.

The University did not make any plans to require testing for SpringFest.

UVM reported 77 total COVID-19 cases the week of April 11-17, according to the UVM Weekly Testing Results Page.

This comes as the new BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron variant rampages across the U.S. and around the world, according to a March 30 New York Times Article.

Because of this threat, UVM should encourage COVID-19 testing following SpringFest, or at the very least, students should voluntarily test in the weeks following SpringFest and before finals week.

The University should prioritize ensuring students are healthy and ready to take their final exams.

Though the new subvariant of Omicron is highly transmissible, current data indicates vaccines will protect individuals exposed to Omicron and its new subvariant, according to an April 15 UVM Forward email.

UPB announced All Night Boogie Band, winner of this year’s Battle of the Bands, would be the student opener for the festival alongside show opener Annie DiRusso, with rapper SAINt JHN to headline, according to the UPB Facebook page.

As a junior, I’ve never attended a SpringFest at UVM since I was sent home my first year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. During my sophomore year, most concerts and events did not take place due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Now, with warm weather and no mask mandate, I’m excited to attend concerts again. I am usually not the type to attend every event UPB hosts, but SpringFest marks a return to normalcy for me.

While cases at UVM have remained largely under control in recent weeks, I worry about the possible uptick in COVID-19 cases SpringFest could cause.

If hundreds of students are crowded together and people cannot social distance, there is a greater possibility for new infections to appear, according to the CDC Website for COVID-19 gatherings.

Studies from outdoor festivals in both Oregon and the Netherlands demonstrate a link between such gatherings and an increase in COVID-19 cases according to an Aug. 6, 2021 Rolling Stone article.

The possibility that so many students could contract COVID-19 from SpringFest is concerning because students could miss upcoming final exams.

UVM’s final exams are slated for the week of May 9-13, which leaves a two week gap between  SpringFest and the exam period, according to the UVM Academic Calendar.

Although it is too late to require testing beforehand, UVM should encourage testing in the weeks following SpringFest to keep campus healthy and prepared for the final weeks of the semester.

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