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The Squirrel’s Scoop, 3/2/2022

Welcome to The Squirrel’s Scoop—The Clerk’s weekly news bulletin. The Squirrel’s Scoop brings you the biggest stories from the past week in one place.

COVID Update: Case Count Falls Since the Weekend Spike

As of 2:00 pm on Wednesday, March 2nd, Haverford College has  37 active student COVID cases and 1 active employee case. After experiencing a large spike in student cases last week, which reached a peak at 87 cases, it appears that this week, the positive tests are waning, and students who tested positive as part of the spike are beginning to leave isolation. However, as the College has not conducted mandatory testing since January, there is no way to know how many students actually have COVID on campus.

In response to the spike, Vice President Jesse Lytle sent an email on Friday, February 25th, which returned the College to slightly more restrictive COVID policies, including masking in residence halls and limiting indoor dining to two people or less. Upon returning from spring break, students will be required to test between March 15th and 17th, so it remains to be seen whether this spike in cases will carry into the second half of the spring semester.

Students Anticipate Spring Break

With first-quarter classes coming to an end this Friday, students have one thing on their minds: Spring Break. In Spring 2021, students were given only a long weekend in the middle of 14 weeks of classes, so many are not taking this time for granted. “I’m looking forward to taking a break from classes to relax and recharge,” says Sophie Reisbord ’24.

Many see this break as an opportunity for the campus to recover from more than just classes. “It’ll be a good time to reset with COVID,” said David Harris ’23. After a recent spike of cases caused administrators to revert to stricter COVID rules, Harris explains, “We can get back to more normal stuff [after the break] if testing goes well.”

The spike in cases right before the break left some students nervous about travel plans. International student Filip Kesicki ’23 is planning to return to Poland for the first time in almost a year and needs to test negative before flying home and returning to campus. After carefully avoiding infection in the weeks before break, Kesicki explains that he is still not in the clear. “If I happen to catch COVID, I might not be able to return to campus on time,” he explains. Kesicki feels that flying home is worth the risk: “I’m thinking that travel now is probably the safest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Maxwell Mondress ‘23 and Janani Suresh ‘23 Named Customs Co-Heads

After interviewing applicants for Customs Co-head last week, Maxwell Mondress ’23 and Janani Suresh ’23 were selected for the position. Mondress and Suresh will begin serving in their new roles immediately. Their job will include planning the Customs 2022 fall orientation week and directing Customs programming throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. 

The Clerk spoke to Suresh about her goals for her new position, one of which is to focus on inclusivity and identity appreciation: “Having participated in Customs both as a first-year and as a Customs Person my sophomore year, I’m particularly aware of the struggles people holding marginalized identities have faced in this program. My biggest goal for Customs next year is for it to be an inclusive program for both first years and Customs teams alike. I am eager to work with my Co-Head to create an equitable program that really helps first years acclimate to college life, with specific attention to honoring all aspects of the various identities people bring with them.”

Suresh also discussed the difficulty that she and Mondress will face due to the chaos surrounding Customs since the pandemic began. However, she feels optimistic about the 2022 program, adding, “I think in 2022, we’re going to get the opportunity to really create the student community the way we want to, and it’ll give students from the last couple of years a chance to shape that and take control of who we are as a college.”

Amolina Bhat ‘23, one of the current Student’s Council Co-presidents, is looking forward to working with Mondress and Suresh. Speaking for herself and her Co-president, Sam Aronson ‘22, Bhat expressed: “We are super excited that Max Mondress and Janani Suresh will be the Customs Co-Heads for the upcoming year! We absolutely plan on supporting them as much as they need during the rest of the Spring semester but are also extremely confident in their abilities to take on the role.”

Haverford Places 17th in Putnam Math Competition

On December 4, 2021, several Haverford students took part in The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, a math contest for undergraduate students in the United States and Canada. Overall, the Haverford team placed 17th, with many students achieving special accolades. 

Guilherme Zeus Dantas e Moura ’24 and Lucas Nelson ‘23 both placed in the top 211 participants.  João Pedro Mello de Carvalho ’22 and Logan Post ’23 were close behind, placing in the top 328 participants. Out of nearly 3000 students competing, these placements were no mean feat.

The Math and Statistics department awarded their First-Year Prize, an accolade reserved for the first-year student who scores highest in the competition, to Rowen Shigeno ’25. 

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