By: Julia Duggan
Senior Staff Writer
I will admit when I first read President Foster’s email about the number of Covid cases rising on campus, I missed the sentence where she says the students are to blame for not following protocols. I was more concerned in reading what shelter-in-place was and how all classes would then be online only. I read the email again later and then I realized the full weight of the email.
What I know is that some of the students are trying their best. It is really hard to wear a mask for ten hours a day. It is dizzying to follow and keep track of all the changing guidelines being issued by various states and what is happening with vaccines.
While I did not like reading that Foster blames the students for not following protocols, the truth must be faced. 67 cases over ten days is a frightening number. She did say that the cases are from both on campus and off campus which makes me wonder what the specific breakdown is for on campus and off campus positive tests. Are more cases coming from off campus which means the commuters are to blame, or is it more on campus which means the dorms are to blame?
When looking at the data on campus, numbers are at 61 positive cases when off campus are at 26. So, even though there are more chances to come into contact with an infected person for students who live off campus, on-campus numbers are higher. This is not okay.
While living conditions on campus might make students more susceptible to getting the virus from a neighbor, there is constant testing to make sure that students are staying healthy. Foster is even increasing testing to make sure students that could be asymptomatic are identified and moved away from healthy students.
Choosing to surround yourself with large groups of people in close spaces is just not acceptable. Going to parties is just a no. Not wearing a mask is just the worst thing you could possibly do.
Yes, the numbers are going down nationally. In January we were at around 250,000-300,000 cases a day according to The New York Times. Now we are down to 60,000-70,000 cases a day, nationally. That’s like going from the entire undergraduate population in New Jersey being infected with Covid down to just the entire Rutgers campus being infected on a daily basis.
So, we are making progress and we will get to have our campus back and do the things we want without the fear of Covid, eventually. But actively spreading or potentially spreading Covid is not acceptable. That is not what the students should do at the College.
We are lions — seen as metaphors for courage, strength and endurance. We acknowledge we are a family and lean on one another to grow, learn, and change the world. Continue to do everything in your power to limit your contact with other people. Wear a mask. Follow all the testing procedures.
While Foster’s email did sound like a parent lecturing their kid, at least we got a warning. Foster has the power to call for a shelter-in-place immediately without giving us any warning. She truly wants to see us do everything in our power to stop this virus from further invading our campus. In a way her email proves that she cares about us. She wants to give us one more chance to fix this problem before she takes matters into her own hands. She laid out the next steps to show what would happen and we all know it will be hard to last through all the classes on zoom.
Don’t give up now, when we are so close to having a normal college semester. It’s worth the sacrifice of not having the stereotypical college memories this semester to save all the other semesters we have left to go before we graduate. For those that are graduating this semester, don’t lose hope. If you continue to wear the masks and continue to stay socially distanced, the graduation parties might be saved.