As we approach the one-year anniversary of the worldwide shutdown, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. However, these accomplishments cannot be met with complacency.
At this time last year, many of us students left campus for spring break, unaware that we would not be returning until the fall.
Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic and quarantine became part of our everyday vocabulary.
The four walls of our room became the only safe place to breathe freely and the people we lived with were our only point of human contact. Those that had pets relied on them for entertainment. Binge-watching comfort shows practically became a sport.
We’ve navigated through government briefings, numerous phases of multiple shutdowns, constantly updated guidelines and endless Zoom meetings. As a society, we were resilient and kept adapting as we gained new knowledge of the pandemic’s development.
We can’t let this hard work and everything we’ve learned go to waste by returning to “normal” too quickly.
As a community, we need to stay vigilant. Even though the weather is starting to lend itself to outdoor gatherings, we must proceed with caution. Although a darty, or day party, might seem like a fun way to blow off some mid-semester steam, it’s not conducive to keeping COVID-19 positivity rates low.
Students know what a two-week all-campus quarantine during a semester is like, and we’re sure everyone would agree that it is an experience that we don’t want to go through a third time.
There are safer alternatives students can partake in and still have a good time. Some student organizations have started hosting in-person events with capacity limits and mask-wearing guidelines that are open for signups. University guidelines also allow students to dine-in at off-campus establishments, so a small group of friends can safely gather at a restaurant.
Although online learning is the new standard, and many have grown accustomed to this style throughout the past year, the practicality of in-person classes in the fall is on the horizon. What we do now impacts our chances of getting back in the classroom by August.
Beyond recognizing the ways in which we can help protect our own and others’ physical health, we have also become more attuned to being aware of our mental health. This past year has been full of turmoil and trauma, and it was easy to get lost in all the negativity.
People may have found ways to escape the chaos through virtual game nights with friends, meditation, art, crafts, cooking/baking and other activities or self-care methods.
Bradley has implemented online counseling and its “TeleTalk” initiative to provide students ways to safely discuss their mental health needs.