Ambulances lining the campus mall, resident advisors (RAs) banging on dorm doors and the 3 a.m. email alerting students of a suspect virus all created an atmosphere of panic at Rider.
In the tiny bubble that is Rider’s campus, the norovirus outbreak seemed to soar to epidemic proportions overnight, and since Feb. 8, approximately 186 students have reported symptoms of the norovirus, according to Dean of Students Anthony Campbell.
What contributed to the craziness on campus was the slew of rumors surrounding the norovirus outbreak. One was that it originated from the Bronc Diner, and that was the cause of the abrupt closure on Wednesday night. However, the student body received emails and updates claiming campus food was not the problem.
According to Campbell, the Bronc Diner was closed under his orders as a precautionary measure. This is why many steps were taken and changes were made in our dining halls to ensure the food did not affect students with the string of sicknesses.
It is hard to believe food isn’t the reason when the administration has recently put new sanitation protocols at Dalys into action after consulting with health officials, which really has students talking.
Instead of the previous buffet-style self-serve, Aramark workers now serve all food, unless an item is individually wrapped, such as bagels, fruit and desserts. Additionally, butter, peanut butter and cream cheese are available in individual containers and silverware has been replaced with packages of plastic utensils.
Senior Food Director of Rider University Scott Oswald believes that the norovirus, or any other germ, can easily be passed when students reach to grab a piece of fruit or a fork and knife from the container. If they have the virus, their hands could be contaminated. In this way, Rider is trying to prevent the illness from spreading further.
Some students understand the changes and know that this is what has to be done. However, some people feel strange about eating at Daly’s because of the new procedures.
Another issue some students fear is exposure to the virus through contact with common objects such as doorknobs and hand-railings. This is something that Rider cannot change and that Dalys cannot cover up. That is why we have constant reminders to continue to practice good hygiene, including hand washing and sanitizing whenever possible.
While it is unclear how long Dalys will continue this way, we will just have to grin and bear it and take this super precaution from the administration as a helping hand.
Senior journalism major