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It is no secret that attending college during a pandemic is one of the most unexpected hardships to go through. Trying to balance community health while still attempting to live out the “best years of your life” is a struggle many young adults are facing across the country right now. Who would have guessed that attending an innocent college party could be considered a controversial, life-or-death situation?
As the semester goes on, it is important for students on campus to be conscious of their actions. We are all in the same boat, cooped up inside of our rooms, feeling left out of what was supposed to be our dream college experience. However, our sad and hurt feelings are not worth the risk of potentially spreading a virus to our community and loved ones.
Students may have been dreaming of returning to school this semester since the pandemic began in March, imagining it as the timely sign of the pandemic being over and returning back to normal life. As summer vacation came and went, society slowly had to come to terms with the fact that normalcy is not as close as we initially thought. Despite rising COVID-19 cases, administrators all across the country began planning tirelessly for a healthy transition into the fall.
For the past few months, a hot topic of conversation all across America was the process of schools reopening. NIU, like many other institutions, developed detailed guidelines to keep the community safe as Huskies come back to campus.
“Our ‘Protecting the Pack’ plan sets clear expectations for all Huskies this fall, including our shared acknowledgment of the serious threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and our need to unite to limit the spread of the virus.” NIU spokesperson Joe King said.
Students were even provided a voluntary pledge of commitment to sign that vows, “I recognize that I play an important part in ensuring the health of our university community. I pledge to Protect the Pack by taking care of myself and the community that cares for me,” as stated on the Protect the Pack website.
NIU has enforced countless guidelines for a safe transition into the semester, such as mandatory mask-wearing, redirection of social traffic, and strict policies within residence halls. Students even had to submit a negative COVID-19 prior to moving into their dorm. However, it almost seems as if all of these efforts and policies are nonexistent to students who wish to party as the COVID-19 cases within the NIU community rise at scary rates.
As a college student, I recognize that social gatherings are inevitable when you mix hundreds of socially deprived young adults that have been quarantined at home for several months. However, as an NIU Huskie, I am shocked to see the constant, blatant disregard for community health by my own fellow peers. Advertising and handing out flyers for constant parties with no safety precautions during a pandemic is unacceptable.
“I think there are many times when calling out the behavior that’s inappropriate is a good thing to do to remind people of their obligation to the community and each other and sometimes to take action against behaviors that endanger individual students and our community,” NIU President Lisa Freeman stated.
NIU administration has done its part in providing us healthcare resources, enforcing new rules and promoting social distancing across campus in every way possible. It is time for us Huskies to do our part as well.