Are young people responsible for the spread? Many college students nationwide continue to ignore mask mandates and engage in large social gatherings helping contribute to the spread of COVID-19. This makes the need for young people to be vaccinated more urgent.
By Maia Pagán
Have college students made COVID-19 more spreadable? The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for a little over a year now, and no one was expecting it. Constant hand sanitizer, wearing masks, and social distancing are so common that you think people would be used to it. Yet, COVID-19 is still rapidly spreading around, especially amongst college students. Why you may ask? Because many college students are not taking the global pandemic seriously.
Many college students are still out partying with different friends, not wearing masks, and not socially distancing. News outlets report college students are coming onto campus and continuing to spread COVID-19 to their peers. Florida and many other states experienced a vast spread of the virus during spring break, with hundreds of students being seen on the beach partying, not social distancing, and not wearing their masks.
Everyone wants to go back to normal, not the new normal, but the hug our friends and family, stop wearing masks, and feel more comfortable inside everyday places. But this is becoming less and less possible, especially with schools, specifically colleges, opening up. Some colleges have decided recently to open back up for the remaining of the year to give students a sense of normalcy, especially for those seniors in college who had their senior year taken away from them.
Unfortunately, most of those college campuses had to close down once again because there was a large spread of COVID-19, and most students on campus were infected. Many college sports teams have been allowed to stay on campus and play. They, too, have been infected with the virus and have had to stop playing their sport for a while.
Yet, colleges are not reporting this, so it gives an inaccurate number to how many other cases are in the area. The repercussions make people think that things are getting better, yet they are continuing the same. Although people are feeling more excited to go back to school in the fall of 2021 because of the new vaccines, there still remains a problem: yes, of course, the vaccine helps, but it is still possible that COVID-19 can be spread with the majority of people opting out. Add the fact that many could be carriers without any symptoms.
The pandemic could lessen with vaccines. My biggest concern as a student is that many courses are hybrid, starting next fall semester, which means that most students have to be on campus. But with trends of past campuses opening up has shown, this decision is not wise, and many students are at risk of getting covid, not just COVID-19, but new variants that are beginning their spread. Keep colleges shut down again and stop the spread.
Although we are in the orange tier now, this does not mean that that won't change. Summer is around the corner, and students will do what they have continued to do: during vacation, they will see everyone, travel, and not wear their masks. Now, even more so, it is becoming more of a danger because many people are faking getting vaccines. Many college campuses are starting to let more off-campus students come on to campus but is this a mistake?
Although most college campuses are trying to be as safe as possible and take precaution, there is no guarantee that there will not be an outbreak of COVID-19 in the upcoming semesters. Colleges seem optimistic about re-opening, but it’s the human factor of personal sanity that keeps covid a revolving door.
Want to get rid of COVID entirely? Besides getting the vaccine, continue to wear your mask, always use hand sanitizer, don't share your food or drinks, and continue to social distance is the science. If things get terrible over the summer, we should go into a complete shutdown again. New Zealand, which is now completely open and covid-free, did shut down and reopen with stricter rules to open up again. Life will go back to normal, but a new normal will not happen if people continue to ignore the rules and put other lives in danger. Please remember that millions of people have died during the covid pandemic and if we all take precautions and are safe during this time, even if things are getting better, just know you are potentially saving a life.
Ryan Ford '23,