COVID Rules Change


Nicholas Cruz, Staff Writer

“I never had COVID, but I had to quarantine and miss some school because I was around someone with the virus,” said Josiah Basket, a 21-year-old communications major from Belmar. Basket’s experiences with COVID are not uncommon. During the last three years, students and staff have had a variety of COVID experiences from having the virus multiple times to never being notified of a lucky “near miss” with the contagion.

When the semester began on Jan. 17, Brookdale announced new COVID-19 protocols. Students and faculty no longer need to report their cases to a central college representative and cases are no longer being tracked. The college is also no longer conducting contact tracing. What this means for faculty and students alike is the school will no longer be tracking anyone that is diagnosed with the virus, nor will they be tracking whether they’ve been in close contact with someone that has or had the virus. The only exception is in the case of an outbreak.

The new protocols state that students who become ill with COVID or are asymptomatic, but test positive, are expected to continue to follow CDC guidelines. They’re supposed to notify their professors to arrange an alternate means of making up class materials when absent. Those on campus who test positive are also asked to notify their close contacts.

While the mask mandate was lifted back in 2022, the college has announced that the school continues to be “mask friendly”.

“COVID Vaccinations are not required but encouraged,” the college stated at the beginning of the semester.

Brookdale also encourages everyone to continue following CDC guidance for reducing the risk of becoming sick. These measures include staying home when sick, washing hands often with soap and water, wearing a mask or face covering as recommended, covering coughs and sneezes and properly disposing of tissues and limiting close contact with people who are sick. Additionally, individual students are being asked to continue monitoring their health for COVID symptoms and signs of other contagions and illnesses.

Brookdale also asks that that when an outbreak (defined by two or more individuals being infected by the same person) occurs that students or staff notify Dr. Yesenia Madas, the Vice President of Student Affairs.