Art by Samantha Miller
Contrary to some students’ actions, the pandemic is far from over. While being cooped up for eight months can be emotionally draining, students need to maintain caution and understand the severity of the virus.
Since the start of the semester, students across the nation have been dismissing the virus by failing to wear masks or throwing parties in spite of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations against indoor gatherings.
For instance, reports showed that students partied while on campus which posed a potential risk of spreading the virus. Students, of course, were reprimanded with a misdemeanor charge and $500 fines, but this is an eye-opener to how some students are showing little concern for the virus.
Careless behavior like this is all the more dire when taking into account that since reopening, universities and schools are already reporting high numbers of COVID-19 cases among students. A recent CNN report shows that schools across the nation have caused the infections of 513,000 students.
“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” said Dr. Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Furthermore, this means COVID-19 cases among children increased by 16% since campus reopenings, according to the same CNN report.
At the University of Texas, parties resulted in 600 new cases of the virus, which subsequently caused universities to quarantine 2,000 students total.
Pepperdine students are also walking a fine line when remembering how seriously they should take the virus. For example, sororities and fraternities need to be more cautious and aware of their social media posts.
Several members of Pi Beta Phi displayed themselves on Instagram in groups with no masks and in close proximity on the beach. The Panhellenic Instagram page also featured the president of Delta Gamma walking into the apartments of multiple students who were not six feet apart or wearing masks.
Promotions like this minimize the severity of the virus and influence other students to adopt reckless behavior.
Pepperdine also hasn’t issued public statements on how these organizations should behave and manage their social media accounts. College is a chance for students to explore and grow, but fraternities and sororities should encourage those options in a safe manner.
Students also post pictures and videos going out with their friends on Snapchat, Instagram and other forms of social media, but doing so contradicts what students truly want to do — resume in-person classes as soon as possible.
The goal of every administrator, professor and student is to return to campus safely. However, acting as though the virus doesn’t exist and living a pre-pandemic lifestyle only exasperates the problem; it’s hypocritical for students to constantly advocate for a return to campus while continuing with behavior that caused universities to close down in the first place.
Everyone wants to go back to normal, but as of right now, being overly cautious and aware of our surroundings — both virtually and in reality — needs to be the current normal. Students must focus on the goal of returning to campus and decide to act appropriately during COVID-19.
Encourage one another, make good decisions and be patient. Everything will take time, and waiting will make it better when things finally return to normal. Resuming risky activities too early will inflict more harm and prolong the time it takes to go to a pre-pandemic normal.
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
Email Anitiz Muonagolu: email@example.com