With all of us back on campus, Shippensburg University has me and many other students wondering if they truly care about us as much as they promise they do.
Every day I wake up and put all of my effort into keeping myself safe. I double mask. I use hand sanitizer far more than recommended. I clean my laptop and water bottle with Lysol wipes. I wash my hands so much my skin is dry and peeling. But, still, I can only do so much as one student of thousands. Some things are out of my control.
The SU administrators are the ones who have the control in this situation.
They have the ability to do more.
However, instead of actually doing more, we have professors and students forced to be here in person, no social distancing, a weak mask mandate students don’t follow, and a half-hearted attempt to track cases with non-mandatory COVID tests.
Worst of all, students are being left to fend for themselves if they are exposed to or test positive for the virus. If you have to isolate and miss class for a week, good luck catching up on all that missed work.
A traditional student pays anywhere between $4,000-$13,000 in a given semester. With SU forcing us to come in person and live on campus, they are, of course, getting more money. Are we only a source of money to the school now? Do our lives, our safety, really mean nothing as long as Shippensburg gets our bill every semester?
That’s what it has started to feel like this year as COVID restrictions have been lifted and we have been left without essential information and support.
We have regressed to what campus looked like in spring 2020 before we had the proper information to understand how to stop the spread of this highly contagious, deadly disease. The only difference is: now we know what works to prevent spread, we just aren’t doing it.
Now, I’m not one to present a problem without a solution. So what do I suggest we do? Well, it’s very simple. Put social distancing measures back in place in all buildings. Put large classes in large classrooms. Allow professors the choice to hold classes in person or online. Allow students to take classes online if they feel more comfortable. Have stricter expectations with masks. Stop having big on-campus events. Reduce the number of tables and seats in the dining halls so people can be properly distanced. Clean the desks in between classes.
Those are just a handful of things that SU could do without spending any money at all. Not only that, but they were all in place just one semester ago. They can easily be put into place again for the safety and peace of mind of SU students.