Weekly press conference with Dr. Drew Miller

Photo courtesy of Scott Morris

In an effort to update the student body and faculty on coronavirus related news, associate vice president of Student Affairs Dr. Andrew Miller, held a press conference the morning of Sept. 20.

Miller assured that although coronavirus is still going on, we have essentially seen the worst of the latest delta strain.

“Locally in Walker County, as well as here on campus, we are seeing a decrease in positive cases,” Miller stated. “Unfortunately, we are still in the high level of transmission because of the previous volume of cases we were seeing at our peak.”

In order to prevent the spread of the Delta variant, it is important to take effective measures to ensure safety standards in place.

“Washing hands, maintaining distance and most importantly getting vaccinated,” Miller said. “If we continue down this path over the next few weeks, we should be a return to lower levels of transmission which will make navigating around the last portion of the semester much easier.”

Miller explained that many different scenarios have been played out in meetings with other chairs in the department of Student Affairs, and they are prepared for the worst but are  hoping for the best.

While following safety protocols is important to decreasing transmission cases, the majority of Sam Houston State University students have reported being fully vaccinated. 

“Based on survey data that was conducted during the summer, approximately 90% of faculty and staff were fully vaccinated prior to the start of the first semester,” Miller said. “Roughly 70 to 75% of the student population, also being fully vaccinated prior to the start of the fall – with that rate being slightly higher for those who are living in the resident’s halls.”

Although coronavirus is still prominent, with mask policies becoming more relaxed, the worry of the upcoming flu season has become a forefront concern.

“There is a faculty and staff flu shot clinic coming up Sept. 22 while the student flu shot clinic will be taking place over the course of three days from Oct. 5-7 with more information coming out in the future.” Miller explained.

Miller also assured us that life post vaccine and pre-vaccine are very different saying that unless another virus or something big changes in the future of this pandemic, they will not return to remote learning and or mask mandates. Miller expressed how the vaccine has proven to be more effective than wearing masks and hopes that everyone continues to do their part to help out their fellow Bearkat.

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