By Robin Bakker
The world is full of uncertainties at the moment. And for students, a lot of them revolve around if schools will stay open. For the Fall semester, most colleges decided to re-open. But, with the spike in cases, they might be closing sooner than students would like.
According to a New York Times article, they surveyed 1,500 colleges in the U.S. and noted over 51,000 cases and 60 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The article also states that The University of Tampa has four cases. I don’t know how accurate that number is but to me that seems a lot less than I imagined. With the way a simple cold has spread around campus in previous years, I don’t imagine COVID being contained to that small of a number.
According to the new update on the UT website, the number is now up to 20. They update the number every week and can be seen by those who want to keep track.
The school is doing a good job about safety protocols but I do think that there could be some improvements. Restricting large gatherings and keeping classrooms safe to maintain distances and glass shields were some good ideas. However, I don’t remember getting notified about how the school was going to prevent the gatherings. I feel as if it isn’t smart to start the year off with suspending kids without the warning.
I do understand that the university needs to be strict with rules and they have to get their point across that they will not tolerate anything. I also understand the fear that Florida has become the COVID hotspot. As we are a smaller school, I don’t imagine us to get as many cases as the University of Central Florida has. As of Thursday, the New York Times article states that they have 754 cases.
While the internet and news stories are filled with colleges and the new cases they face everyday, I wouldn’t be surprised if they shut down faster than our school. Given they have a bigger population and more of their students live on campus, it shouldn’t be that big of a shock if the big schools close soon.
It seems to be unsure of what will cause the closing of UT, but I am sure that it will depend on a certain number of cases on campus. There are rumors stating that once we get to 8% of the school’s population, then we will go all online. But, based on the numbers shown now, either the university is hiding something or the students are.
With some people who test positive, they can be asymptomatic. So, who’s to say students don’t realize they have it and walk around campus. Students that also live on-campus and share a room have to quarantine together. I’m sure no one would want to be the cause of their friends or roommates to get it.
However, most classes have found a way to conduct hybrid classes: there is less contact and less people in the same room. A lot of classes have one day a week in class and one online. Others have every other week in person. Whatever it may be, if we get to be on campus, at least I would do anything it takes.
Apparently some people don’t think the same way I do. I get that this school is a “party school” and most people like coming down here to go to bars and parties, but I am positive that it would not be the end of the world if they just stayed in for a few months until this is over. Wouldn’t it be more satisfying to have a normal night out later when this is over than a mask filled, socially distant weekend?
College is the time to have fun and find who you are, but that can not fully happen if we keep having to close down. I also started having a hard time always being home and barely getting to see my friends, but I know when this ends and things start to get back to normal, we can all have fun again.
I have a small piece of hope that tells me that everyone can be selfless, wear a mask, maintain distancing protocols and stay home as much as possible. But another part of me knows that it is too much to ask for and not everyone is going to have the same mindset as me.
Students and other community members do have the option to fill out an incident report if they still guidelines being broken. I will gladly support anyone that chooses to fill one out if it means that we can stay on campus longer than a month. Here is the link if you choose to do so: www.ut.edu/incidentreport