Messiah University has officially made it past the two-week mark without an outbreak of COVID-19. The continual mask wearing, social distancing and increased sanitizing has kept the virus from spreading across campus.

Some universities have not been as diligent and cautious as Messiah. Both the University of Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have suspended or cancelled in-person instruction for the semester because of an increased number of cases.

Many people are taking this semester day by day, unsure of how long the school will stay open. However, there appears to be hope in Messiah’s ability to keep this under control.

According to Messiah’s official COVID-19 dashboard, there is a total of one confirmed case on campus. This number has remained unchanged since last week and no new cases have been reported.

Messiah will not be releasing any private information identifying the affected individual because of confidentiality laws.

Any student who may have had contact with the infected individual will be notified by the Engle Center if self-isolation is necessary.

It is the university’s goal to keep that number from increasing and causing an outbreak.

The parameters of COVID-19 may seem harsh and frustrating, but they are necessary. If the university plans to control the spread of the virus, students’ cooperation is key.

On August 25, Messiah changed how they would enforce the policies in place.

As we begin classes today, we are moving from warnings to making referrals for COVID Code of Conduct violations,” Doug Wood, the Associate Dean of Students, said.

Depending on the violation, students could face fines, loss of campus privileges or possibly suspension.

Every student needs to do their part in stopping the spread in order for this to work. Every student is responsible for how life continues on campus this semester.

The community and Christian atmosphere students have when residing on campus are a big part of Messiah’s character. After having a glimpse of that these past two weeks, no one wants to lose it again.

Messiah’s president, Kim Phipps, wants to encourage students to find ways to be together and grow in their faith while remaining COVID-19 safe.

Chapels, sixers and life groups will continue to be offered in order to keep everyone connected with each other as they foster community.

“May unswerving faith and hope be our earnest prayer this year and may we continue to seek after the heart of the One for whom this university is named,” Phipps said.

Keep washing your hands, keep wearing a mask and keep praying for God’s protection over Messiah University.