Since returning housing to full capacity, the University of Connecticut has proven just how futile its COVID policies are.
According to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are currently four positive symptomatic student cases on the Storrs campus; a number that could now possibly be much higher considering the SUBOG Block Party and inconsistent mask wearing in large group areas, especially within the dining and residence halls. Although the Delta variant is still making its way throughout the country, UConn remains at code orange, requiring masks indoors as per the Mansfield Mask Mandate and recommending, but not enforcing, them outdoors. Thus, students have been able to gather in large groups without social distancing, disregarding the danger they are putting themselves and others in. Masks are not even required in the dining halls where masses of people congregate, making the spread of COVID-19 easier.
UConn should begin enforcing some social distancing policies indoors as well as offering free masks in the residence halls. Such masks would be given out by residential assistants who will be able to record which students are following the guidelines and which are just ignoring them. This way Residential Life will be able to monitor the reasons as to why COVID-19 may be spreading about Storrs despite the 97 percent of residential students who are fully or partially vaccinated. Not providing personal protective equipment to residents is putting residential assistants at risk every day. Last year the university was able to distribute reusable, cloth masks to all the residence halls. This year should not be any different because of vaccines.
Offering free masks would also financially help students who are unable to purchase new ones and take away the excuse of not having a mask from students who simply do not want to wear one. It would be a good opportunity to keep our community safe as well as not downplay the Delta variant which may reach our student body sometime this year.