By Sean McGurn
After the new restrictions were announced by St. Michael’s President Lorraine Sterritt, including rules such as remote classes for the rest of the semester, no in person activities or athletics, no gatherings, and no on or off campus guests, many students and their families say that the new protocol comes too late.
These types of full-on lockdown type restrictions should have been implemented at the start of the semester, they say, instead of after the damage has already been done with77 total cases of COVID-19 over the semester and a current four active cases in isolation. Although SMC has given students the option to leave before the scheduled pre- Thanksgiving date, not every student has the luxury of leaving campus early, and many are stuck in a locked-down state fearing they will be infected.
“A little fear is not a bad thing,” said Patricia Siplon, director of the Public Health program and an advisor to the Covid Action Network that works with students. Students should be slightly scared of the events surrounding the cases since this is still a very serious virus and “a little fear counters denial,” Siplon said. Students should not lose sight of the dangers that the virus can pose not only to themselves personally but to the community at large.
“We were mostly stuck inside of our houses, with the lingering $250 fine rule for having any guests to be careful about,” Myron Prograis, the class president for juniors, who chose to leave campus earlier than expected. “Everything on campus is closed,” he said and he is still staying in touch with his friends on and off campus through Snapchat and Facetime.
“One of the best ways that a student can start to connect with others again is to “create a schedule for yourself, reach out to friends and family with phone calls, Facetime, Zoom, and attend any of the virtual activities being offered through Res Life, CAN!, MOVE, and Bergeron,” said Kathleen Butts, the Director of Counseling at the Bergeron Wellness Center. Some other apps and communication forms that are popular include Discord, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook messenger.
During such a time of disarray and separation Butts said that the best options are to “Avoid blaming. Do the best you can. Notice the small good things in your life. Remember that we are all in this together and that we are all making it up as we go and doing the best we can in a difficult situation.” She also suggests that you help others. “If you have a friend in quarantine or isolation, reach out to them regularly to check in on how they are doing and to see if you can get anything for them.”
For students who are worried about what could happen to them if they are stuck on campus during Thanksgiving break Butts sid s that “we will work together with Residence Life and those students to determine what the needs are and respond to them,” Students should also remember that their professors are struggling too, they are feeling stretched and tired” just as many students are. Ms. Butts talks about how the staff that she has “spoken to care very much about our students and are concerned for their physical and mental health. Everyone is looking forward to a time post-covid-19 when we can have a more “normal” campus experience.”