Holiday celebrations endanger a safe return to campus

During the COVID-19 pandemic, life has had to change drastically. Fatigue has set in and many people are deciding to be done with the pandemic when the pandemic has not yet ended.

The frustration and need for an end to the madness is understandable. Entire lives have been put on hold all thanks to a virus. However, it is important to remember why such drastic measures have become necessary.

What may seem like just a common cold to most could mean death for others. Frontline workers are overloaded, families lose loved ones and innocent people suffer even when they try to do everything right. This is not up to the individuals affected, but everyone that can make a difference in stopping the spread.

While many people have made an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some individuals ignore the precautions. Many people chose to attend gatherings on Halloween and Thanksgiving which led to a sharp increase in cases of COVID-19, especially on college campuses.

According to ABC News, Halloween gatherings were suggested to lead to outbreaks of COVID-19. Tulane University, for example, reported over 300 cases of COVID-19 due to students’ desire to celebrate Halloween and disregard proper safety precautions. Getting together for a large get-together during the pandemic is irresponsible.

For college students, these parties and events may seem worth the risk. After all, a big part of attending college is having fun with friends. But, the canceled sports events and corresponding illnesses change perspective rather quickly.

Hospitals fear that a spike in COVID-19 cases due to Thanksgiving will hit soon, with a Christmas spike inevitable if individuals still choose to not follow proper safety guidelines.

Although school has ended for the semester, every student should be conscious of their choices during break, to ensure that school resumes as planned in the spring.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is recommended that individuals spend the holidays with as small a group as possible, limiting the possible spread of COVID-19. The level of COVID-19 cases can increase when families host large gatherings for the holidays.

Traveling by means of utilizing public transport (airports, bus stations, train stations, rest stops and more) can also increase the level of exposure to COVID-19. The CDC also recommends that if individuals do not adhere to social distancing and other preventative measures, they should not be included in any holiday gathering.

The safest thing to do is to stay home, avoid travel, avoid all types of gatherings, and continue practicing proper safety measures.

Zoom calls, online video gaming and phone calls are all alternative options to spending time with people over the holidays. Staying safe while celebrating the holidays will help ensure that life begins to return to normalcy sooner rather than later.

As many Baker University students and faculty members learned throughout the fall semester, these changes and protocols make life increasingly difficult. The overload of homework and stacks of papers to grade were ever-present. It is likely that similar stressors will appear in the shortened spring semester as well.

Naturally, there is clear frustration as to how another overwhelming semester is going to help students succeed. The challenges will still be present and life will still be far from normal. But lives are on the line and the only way to survive a pandemic is to recognize it and adapt to it until we can control it.