Colleges vs. COVID: Will It Be A Re-Opening or A Resurgence?

As the new school year begins, it’s reasonable for many students to want to put an end to their isolated quarantine and meet people. Especially for students in college where they find living on campus as their first taste of freedom— away from the shackles of parents, home, and (possibly) siblings. However, for many first-year students, the glorified “campus life” is no longer what they expected due to the ongoing pandemic. So what happens now that colleges are reopening amidst a pandemic? Well, one of two things: social distancing or parties. And it seems that some colleges have chosen the latter of the two.

You may think that COVID-19 is a predominant issue for senior citizens, but as more cases arise, young people who thought they were safe are not so safe anymore. The number of new cases among children had increased by 17% within the past two weeks, and while deaths are rare, long-term symptoms remain. These numbers are concerning, yet on some college campuses, parties and social gatherings with over a hundred people continue to occur. At Cornell University, parties are being held and social distancing is disregarded. A first-year student at Cornell even posted on Snapchat of a group of students without masks and not social distancing. Her caption on the video was, “The people who slide up saying ‘you’re not social distancing’ are the ones that wouldn’t have been invited anyway.” This is the mindset that has caused colleges like the University of Mississippi, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Notre Dame, SUNY Oneonta, and Iowa State to see alarming rises in cases in less than a few weeks of opening campus.

One predicament college students find themselves in is snitching on their peers. The beginning of the semester is the time to meet new people, greet old friends, and discover a new group to belong in. Some students are hesitant to tell on their peers because they don’t want to rat out the people they are trying to become friends with. Also, if word gets out that you snitched, your image at college is now labeled as a “narc.” Some students are opting to disassociate themselves from the people who are following social distancing rules but still refusing to tell authorities on those people. However, there are people who will have no remorse and will snitch on their classmates.

A screenshot from STS Travel’s Facebook page of Blackbeard’s Revenge Cruise. 

With college after college releasing news about new cases on campus, the future seems bleak. It is a shame that college life is not what it used to be, however, those who wish to attend social gatherings, parties, and disregard social distancing and masks may end up ruining it all for everyone on campus. They themselves could contract the virus and unknowingly spread it across campus to each event they go to. These are trying times for everyone and for the young adults using college to find their place in the world, COVID-19 is an obstacle that should be faced carefully rather than disregarding its existence which will end up having worse repercussions for everyone. 


SOURCES:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/02/nyregion/colleges-universities-covid-parties.html

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/02/health/us-coronavirus-wednesday/index.html

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/live-updates/coronavirus/?id=72766288


Kali Jung

Hi, my name is Kali Jung and I this coming fall I will be a sophomore in college majoring in Health Science on a Pre-Physician Assistant path. I am currently the secretary for the American Chemical Society. I am passionate about equal rights for minorities as well as climate change and mental health care. I wish to educate myself and others about the issues that may not be well known and spread awareness for many fundamental human rights issues.

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