Return to Campus Amid Pandemic

Life Back on Campus in the Age of Coronavirus

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Blake McMillen, Opinion Editor

It was the week of spring break, and I was blissfully unaware of what was coming. I sat at a dinner table in the home of my best friend Rachel, where I had been invited to stay for the week before we went back to school. That spring break, Rachel and I had planned plenty of things to do in Des Moines, only to be sent out of a botanical garden, and seen many Sorry, Were Closedsigns. It seemed like the world was endingfor what we thought would be one week only. But boy, were we wrong. 

As Rachels parents sat silverware on the table, we both received an email on our phones from then-President of Buena Vista University Joshua Merchant: Classes Moving Online to Prevent COVID-19 Spread. As she read it out loud to them, I considered all of my worst-case scenarios coming true; while I couldnt wait to be back with my mom and brothers, I did not want to be exiled to the other side of the country away from all my friends. 

But I did, and as soon as I arrived, I made a countdown for days until I returned. I waited all summer, Face Timed all my friends from BVU, and when the day finally came, moved into my new dorm room. The school year comes with restrictions, but none that are so difficult I cant do to prevent getting sent back to the south. 

Why, then, if wearing a mask and walking a little distantly is so simple, are there students not doing it? I will give acknowledgment to the school and its students: we are doing much better than other universities. But I watch my every step, every chance I get to do the slimmest things to avoid being sent home, while other students justdont. 

For example, Sodexo implemented a new counterclockwise path to walk down in the Serve. This was done in an attempt to create one-way traffic, so no students would walk towards each other and come in close contact with one another. I dont like it. Im not sure anyone does. But I follow it anyway because I like my school, I like my friends, and I do not want to go home. It flows rather well until I walk past the pizza station because students leaving the drink machine insist on turning around to get to the exit quicker. In the process, a student or two is headed my way as Im trying to get to the drink machine myself. This does not do anything for one-way traffic as Sodexo originally intended. 

It hasnt happened often, but Ive seen a few Beavers with their masks under their noses and some with them below their chins. Its very upsetting and annoying to take as many steps possible to keep others safe, only to not see that in return. 

To BVU students reading this: please follow the steps taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Both you and I do not want to go home, and it is courtesy to keep your fellow students safe. Its small things we can do, whether it be taking one more loop around the Serve to exit, or wearing a mask over your nose.