Opinion: Students need to follow the COVID-19 guidelines
Opinion

Opinion: Students need to follow the COVID-19 guidelines

Belmont should go online for two weeks; that’s what some students want now that COVID numbers are rising.

This is a good idea in theory, but it doesn’t address the core issue: Students aren’t following COVID regulations. 

The CDC says that “COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other.” 

By wearing a mask and staying socially distanced, ideally in an outdoor setting, you are less likely to get sick or spread the virus.

But students aren’t doing that.

And while Nashville has relaxed its COVID regulations somewhat, Belmont hasn’t, yet it continues to see a spike in cases, with 82 new positive tests reported on Monday – 69 of those cases are people who live on-campus.

A petition, which received 73 signatures as of Friday morning, requests Belmont conduct only online classes for two weeks in an effort to tame the number of cases on campus. 

If in-person classes were the sole cause of the rampant spread of COVID-19, this would be a perfect solution, but classroom learning isn’t the main issue. 

The issue lies with the students who aren’t following CDC guidelines when gathering with each other, going out in groups, or even taking vacations. 

In the classroom, professors require masks and distance and sanitizer is everywhere.

But once class is over, students seem to forget all that.  Take the recent snowstorm. Students were out en masse enjoying sledding and snowball fights. But few wore masks.

In a December 2020 press conference, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said the coronavirus spreads “when we relax our guard in private settings,” according to an article by Joseph Wenzel for News 4 Nashville

Yes, we may be able to go out and enjoy a nice meal, socially distanced from others, and be totally fine, but convincing ourselves that we are perfectly safe no matter what is what causes risk to ourselves and others.

In an email to students on Monday, President Bob Fisher didn’t completely rule out the possibility of going fully online, should cases continue to rise. 

Nobody wants that.

Nobody wants COVID to shut down Belmont for the second March in a row. No student wants to be stuck in his or her dorm, or stuck at home. 

We’re tired of this pandemic, we want to see our friends and family without the risk of illness, but we haven’t crossed the finish line yet. The marathon isn’t over, so this is no time to slow down. 

These guidelines aren’t arbitrary, and they definitely aren’t debateable. 

We want, more than anything, to feel free of the boundaries this pandemic has built for us but now, today, the risks far outweigh the rewards. 

The students who are taking vacations, ignoring visitation rules, not wearing masks, going out on the weekends, and mocking COVID guidelines are deciding whether or not we go home. 

That’s the problem.

The solution is right in front of us. COVID guidelines are here to keep us safe. 

Stop ignoring them. 

This article written by Sarah Maninger, Margot Pierson and Nate Vegter.

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