COVID-19 and socially deprived college students

Kelsey Delaney, Contributing Writer

SUNY Oneonta was the first State University of New York to send all of its students home due to a large outbreak of COVID-19 cases on campus. 

Lately, I have found myself wondering if Union could fall to a similar fate. Although there have been many precautionary measures put in place by administration, there is still one thing that is out of their control; college students that have been socially deprived for six months.

Being a member of the class of 2021, I am hoping that we at least get to finish the term on campus. However, a few students could ruin the entire academic year by not following social distancing and gathering protocols. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially trying for college students because they have had to take courses from their homes. Not everyone has an ideal home situation. In fact, a lot of students look forward to leaving home and going to college in order to get away from a toxic home environment. That sort of work environment is not conducive to a productive school term. 

So, of course, students wanted to come back to campus this fall to escape being stuck at home with no one besides their families the past six months. This pandemic has been extremely isolating, taking a large toll on the mental health of college students everywhere. 

Union has been doing a great job so far in keeping COVID-19 at bay, having only seven positive tests come back since the beginning of the term. So, I am optimistic that we will be able to finish the term from Union’s campus. 

In order to stay on campus, it is going to take a mutual understanding from everyone that while this term, and maybe the rest of the academic year is not going to be the same as past years. This is still better than taking online courses from our bedrooms, living rooms or backyards. We still have the opportunity to be in the Union College community, seeing our friends from six feet away is better than seeing them through a screen. 

We all have a responsibility, as members of not only the Union College community. However, we also have a responsibility towards the Schenectady community to stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing and wearing masks. 

I also think that there is some blame to be put on bars and restaurants for not enforcing social distancing guidelines as much as they probably should. I am thankful that we were able to come back to campus this year.