I’m writing this because with everything going on, I’m concerned, not only with the whole pandemic and our world in general right now, but also with the response of students to this pandemic and to news coming from the University of Connecticut. This past week, UConn announced that they are pushing the date of move-out back until the school is operational again or until this whole pandemic is over. It was also announced that they may be moving students’ belongings out of rooms so those rooms can be used for hospital space.
I do understand why students are upset by this. I did not clean out my room completely before leaving and there are some things that had I had time to get, I would’ve liked to. However, I may come from a unique perspective to understand why this announcement and occurrence is necessary and why students should really not be trying to get back on campus and trying to find someone to let them into their dorm to get their stuff, as I have seen people trying to do in “Buy-or-Sell” posts.
My dad is a pulmonologist and critical care specialist who works in the ICU of a hospital the town over from my hometown. Last Sunday, he was exposed to a COVID-19 case and has been quarantining in the guest bedroom of our house ever since. Even while quarantining and being stuck at home, he has been busy doing a lot of work online to ready his practice, to educate the public and just to stay connected. He, the hospital, his partners and co-workers, have been working tirelessly to try to care for patients with this virus, treat other patients who do not yet have it but are in the hospital at an unfortunate time and to ready a plan for when things do get worse.
I forwarded him the email about UConn’s decision on move-out after I got it because my first thought was just, “Wow, I can’t believe this is happening,” like I’m sure others must have been thinking. But knowing how hard my dad has been working and how serious this pandemic is, I realized it was probably a good thing. My dad replied to me, explaining why the decision made sense. His words were, “It is a good idea. Colleges have a large amount of housing which could be converted for public health needs-post hospital or creating hospital space.” Even he was still shocked.
His advice this entire time and the phrase he keeps using in his Facebook posts is “stay home, stay healthy and save lives.” The most important thing we can do right now is to stay home. As younger people, we have a lower chance of being very negatively affected by this virus but there have been reported cases of it having serious effects on people of our age and younger. Plus, even if we don’t show symptoms or are not negatively affected, we can still pass this on to people who may be negatively affected or who will just continue the spread. By going to UConn and trying to find a way to get into your dorm, you are dangerously contributing to the spread of this in ways you don’t realize. Please. Just stay home.
And just to make sure this point is clear: Staying home does not mean inviting friends over and hanging out with people. Staying home means making sure you and others are safe from this pandemic. It means social distancing but not social isolation. We can take advantage of the technology we have available and still stay connected that way, while keeping ourselves and many others safe and healthy.
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Sarah Hill is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org