By Emma Shortall
I open the email from President Sterritt and instantly I start shaking. I am in full disbelief. I should’ve known it was coming, but this all changed so quickly and so abruptly. Why did it change within 24 hours, why yesterday could we have people over, but now we can’t?
In the email from President Sterritt, she states that as a result of our rising COVID-19 positive cases (we currently have 66 on the dashboard) the rest of this semester’s classes will be conducted remotely, there will be no in-person group activities, we will continue with take-out dining and all gatherings of any size are prohibited, therefore no on-campus or off-campus guests are allowed in any residences, including rooms and common areas.
As someone who has followed the COVID-19 protocol for the whole semester, I am extremely hurt by the decision that we are not allowed to have any on-campus visitors or students, other than of course our roommates. I only live with one other person, so she and I plan to tough it out and go stir crazy together. I believe other students and myself would be more than happy to be wearing masks all day every day if it just meant we could even spend a minute with our other friends on campus.
Trust the majority of your student body, we want this all to go away too.
Looking at the COVID-19 Dashboard, it looks as though there are around 1,400 students on campus and there have been 66 positive cases. Doing simple math, that is around 5% of the campus has tested positive, but what about the other 95%?
We are sent this email, yet there are still so many unanswered questions. Are we still allowed off campus for essentials? Can we still go to the grocery store? We have been able to this whole semester despite possibilities of exposure. Can we not see our friend while wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and getting tested regularly? Can we not even see our neighbors who live in the same residential area as us, despite all of us testing negative time and time again? It simply doesn’t make sense.
What if we completely shut down campus, with no one allowed in? This would limit outside exposure while still allowing us to socially distance with our friends. We would still have online classes, but even the slightest social interaction would make this all a tiny bit better. Food from Alliot could be delivered to the students on the meal plan, and for others we could InstaCart our groceries and order delivery. I’d rather be using all my Alliot swipes to see my friends’ faces.
Who is enforcing these new rules? I messaged a Resident Assistant shortly after we got this email and she had no clue about what steps the school is going to take next. How can the people who are supposed to be our support system in the residences not even know what’s going on? There needs to be a warning for these Resident Assistants, as well as for the students so we are prepared when our lives are suddenly flipped upside down.
This situation seems like a subtle way of getting us off-campus without the school losing money. By making it our choice, it’s no one else’s fault but our own for leaving. The Administration seems to be gently guiding us out the gates, yet that is the last thing we want to do.
I am extremely hurt by these decisions, in particular, the no visitor rule, and I’m sure many of my fellow peers feel the same. No one wants to be isolated from their friends when they’ve done nothing wrong. Work with us who have been following these rules so we can stay healthy while also staying sane these next few weeks.