Uncertainty in the face of Omicron
By Joseph Amir
Should Saint Mary’s be going online in the wake of the Omicron variant? That’s the question I’ve heard on everyone’s lips lately, and to be honest, there doesn’t seem to be a good answer. Omicron appears to be milder than other previous variants of COVID-19, but it is far more contagious, with the FDA director saying “most people in the US are going to get COVID.” Some would ask, “if COVID is inevitable, why bother going online?” Obviously, this is reductive.
However, the arguments in favor of staying in person are fairly persuasive. Our vaccines work. Saint Mary’s College is over 97% vaccinated, and these vaccines prevent severe disease and hospitalization. Additionally, Zoom classes are harmful to our education and we do not get the same experience that we’ve (or our parents) all paid for. The professors hate Zoom, most of the students hate Zoom, and after these two years spent in the pandemic, we’ve realized that Zoom instruction is harmful to our mental health for many of us.
I still remember the day we were sent home, and I would assume that if you’re an upperclassman, you do too—the first-years and sophomores here have not known a Saint Mary’s College untouched by COVID-19. Additionally, the Omicron wave is predicted to recede within the next month or so, and we wear masks, have outdoor pavilion classes, and are a relatively small school—we can handle COVID and take precautions, whereas other, larger schools such as the UCs and CSUs do not.
If we want to stay in person, though, we need to be careful and responsible. I won’t even outline the precautions people should be taking because I think most of you could name them all while blindfolded after being spun around in a chair at this point. It’s been two years, and most of us are done. Be responsible, be careful, get vaccinated, and you will be okay.
Melanie Moyer '22,