Art by Autumn Hardwick
In the past 18 months, our staff editorials have urged the community to welcome returning Shanghai students following the February 2020 suspension of the international program, encouraged Waves to unplug and unwind however they are able in the midst of remote learning and pleaded for students to be mindful of health protocols and county guidelines when some were fortunate enough to return to the Malibu campus this past spring.
Here we are, a year and a half later, finally together again at Pepperdine. Soon after the suspension of in-person classes in 2020, President Jim Gash made a promise to keep the lantern on main campus alight until all students were able to return. Many months later, that light is extinguished.
Accountability may be one of the most important traits to continue carrying throughout this year because our livelihoods and campus depend on it.
With weekly testing and strict indoor classroom practices, it is understandable if students and faculty feel suffocated over safety protocols — as well as a constant reminder of last year’s sense of administrative missteps in handling and distributing valuable information.
Yet, venting about the inconsistencies we see is not support for a removal of mandates altogether; as Perspectives Assistant Editor Sarah Best wrote last week, complaining about masks is by no means helpful. Although it may feel tiresome, following current LA County requirements regarding COVID-19 is more than necessary to keep healthy and remain on our beautiful campus.
As students navigate self-accountability and levels of comfort when it comes to enforcing rules they may not agree with, Waves should do their best to keep each other safe.
Faculty, who are also going through in-person teaching adjustments, likewise should not carry the sole burden of enforcing these rules and instead be understanding and flexible during this transition period. This could look like more time for assignments, utilizing hybrid classroom options, encouraging mask wearing or offering classes outdoors.
Everyone on campus should share the responsibility of enforcing these guidelines while trusting the University to help provide the guiding lights.
The Graphic preached compassion and understanding for the returners — from Shanghai students in 2020 to remote learners in 2021 — but every person is a returner to campus now.
Students are bustling in the Caf, professors are adjusting to in-person lectures and the parking lots are fuller than usual — but we must measure the costs, so they do not outweigh the benefits. Here we are as students, stuck in the middle of this health crisis; the pandemic is far from over.
Get vaccinated, mask up, clean up and socially distance when appropriate. There is more than just a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel — there is a flame. Let’s follow it home.
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