Campus Conversation: COVID-19 Updates, Scientific Advice and What to Expect
Last week’s Campus Conversation focused on the epidemiological situation at AUC and in Egypt, as well as the University’s COVID-19 safety measures. Here’s what you need to know:
- The University’s masking and social distancing requirements inside classrooms are effective in mitigating the spread of the virus. Out of the more than 2,000 antigen tests performed for contact cases through classrooms, only three have come back positive.
- More enhancements in communication with professors and the system for testing contact cases in the classrooms are expected soon.
- Mask wearing is still an issue outdoors. The University is looking into ways to better enforce mask wearing, including canceling assembly hour or imposing fines on those who fail to comply. The Scientific Advisory Committee recommends campus bans for those who don’t comply.
- Scientific Advisory Committee recommends revised campus triggers based on the percentage of cases in the AUC campus population. The four-stage system outlines steps for each stage: if cases are below 1%; if cases are in a range between 1% to 3%; and calls for a move to online instruction if cases exceed 3% of the campus population.
- Vice President for Student Life Deena Boraie '78, '82, '88 announced that there have only been two cases in student housing, and there are no current cases.
- Committee Chair Hassan Azzazy, distinguished University professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry, presented the following points on the virus:
- COVID-19 is more transmissible than the flu.
- A single infected person can infect anywhere from 15 to 259 people, with rates varying according to different virus mutations.
- The virus is constantly mutating.
- The virus can remain airborne for three hours, on cardboard surfaces for 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel (doorknobs) for two to three days.
- The committee advised frequent hand washing and continued social distancing and mask wearing.
- It is recommended to wear a mask at all times except when sitting outside at least 2 meters away from others.
- AUC Counselor Ashraf Hatem announced that Egypt is in its fourth wave of COVID-19.
- Cases in this wave are so far less severe than the third wave, with 85% classified as mild and 10-12% as moderate.
- 16% of Egypt’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 7-8% are fully vaccinated, according to Egypt's Ministry of Health and Population.
- Egypt has vaccinated 90% of faculty members working in higher education and 1.8 million students over the past few months.
- Many universities in Egypt have adopted AUC’s model of requiring weekly testing for unvaccinated individuals.