Despite colleges and universities across the country reopening with revised learning models and various forms of online instruction, COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire. Here’s our message to college students: If you really care about your friends, stop exposing them to the effects of your poor choices.
Since the start of the pandemic, colleges have become hotspots for the spread of COVID-19. Illinois State has reported 279 positive cases, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has reported 448 positive cases, as of Aug. 25.
SIUE has decided to offer COVID-19 testing to students, either covered by a student’s personal insurance or by the university if the student does not have insurance coverage. Since its implementation, SIUE testing and self-reporting have identified 12 students and nine faculty/staff members with COVID-19. Thirty tests have been performed by Health Services since the university’s reopening as of Aug. 24.
Although the percentage of positive cases is low among SIUE students compared to other institutions in Illinois, we shouldn’t be taking advantage of this fact or the regulations in place.
While many students have decided to stay home and not live on campus during this unpredictable time, campus is still booming with freshmen and the upperclassmen who must attend in-person classes or labs.
Students can be seen playing sand volleyball and inviting their friends over despite guest policies. Perhaps not an issue for the students who wear masks and social distance, many others are throwing caution to the wind in the name of reuniting with their friends or meeting new people.
We at The Alestle know that, for many students, spending time with friends during this time can have tremendous benefits on mental and emotional health after months of isolation. However, the safety of everyone involved shouldn’t be neglected in these interactions.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, stay at your dorm or apartment. There are countless immunocompromised students on our campus that, if exposed to COVID-19, could face life-threatening consequences. Even if your friends are not high-risk, they could have forced exposure to students who are high-risk via in-person classes or on-campus resources such as dining options.
Learn to adapt to these changing times. Wear a mask correctly when seeing your friends, meet in a public and socially distanced location and respect campus rules and regulations. We know you miss your friends, but we promise you’ll miss them more if they contract COVID-19 and aren’t lucky enough to recover.
Be respectful of everyone’s situations. If you do not believe in the virus, respect others and their decision to use the proper precautions. We are responsible for the people around us during this time, as our actions can impact the health of another.
If you are concerned about your exposure to COVID-19, please visit Health Service’s website to sign up for a screening if no symptoms are present.