Julia Maher ’23
On October 16, 2020, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., announced the College’s decision to welcome students back to campus for the spring semester. Boroughs attached a link to the COVID-19 dashboard and referenced the preliminary spring guide for students and families. Although the guide details a fairly lengthy plan for how to house students back on campus for the spring semester, it simply is an unrealistic idea. The logistics of welcoming back the majority of students is nearly impossible due to the rising rates of COVID-19 and some students’ nonchalance and irresponsibility regarding the coronavirus pandemic, which will create a ripple effect in both the infection and attitude of other students.
The College wants to suggest that students will be safe on campus, but the realities will be far more grim and disappointing. Whereas the students expectations for the spring semester remain consistent with their past experiences on campus, the reality of campus life will not match those expectations.
Undoubtedly, college students’ sense of freedom and independence while on campus poses the greatest threat to a safe return back to Holy Cross. Although the College requires masks, physical distancing, and biweekly testing for students to live on campus, the chance that students will perfectly comply all of these guidelines is slim. There is also the very real threat of falsely negative COVID-19 tests.
Many students will wear masks since it is fairly ingrained in our society now, but there is no feasible way to prevent students from holding gatherings or parties due to their sense of independence at college, which the constraints of quarantine have only heightened recently.
It is the administration’s duty to not sugarcoat the reality of how campus life will unfold. Although they would like to tell students that everything will be rosy, the reality is that many students will become sick, and an outbreak will almost inevitably occur, despite testing procedures and other precautions.
The College must provide a realistic perspective on the return to campus and not pretend like the logistics will fall together seamlessly. Ultimately, the administration must truly prioritize the health and safety of students over money from room and board, while still balancing the economic struggles posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
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