The number of students in isolation and quarantine at Boston College due to COVID-19 infection and contact tracing is rapidly approaching a breaking point. The University attributes this rise to students’ failure to abide by the Eagles Care Pledge. Students feel that the University has not provided them with sufficient resources to safely engage in a residential campus community amid the pandemic. Both students and the administration need to stop pointing fingers and take more responsibility for the health and safety of the community of which they are a part.
The administration’s commitment to keeping the University open is commendable and should be recognized. That being said, sending students an incendiary email that alludes to ending the semester early because of a failure on their part is not the way to grab students’ attention. The email was followed by mandatory Zoom meetings that effectively communicated the importance of the Eagles Care Pledge and opened dialogue between administrators and students. The meetings should have been the first step.
In order to assist students in the effort to reduce transmission on campus, the administration should provide students with environments in which they can socialize safely. Heated outdoor seating areas would allow students to take advantage of BC’s campus more effectively. In addition, students have expressed concern that the indoor dining halls fail to safely physically distance students—even if they do follow Massachusetts guidelines allowing for six people at a table. Reorganizing the dining halls to ensure more distance between students would alleviate some of the anxiety students feel about eating on campus.
Regardless of students’ feelings about the University’s plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus, it is their responsibility to take the plan seriously. The increase in cases is an indication of a collective disregard for social distancing and mask-wearing. Student behavior is also part of the problem. We all want to see our friends, we all want life at BC to go back to normal. But, for now, if we don’t want to be seeing our friends exclusively through Zoom screens, we all need to honor the Eagles Care Pledge.
Colleges and universities are currently listed under Phase 3 of Massachusetts’ vaccine distribution plan, which could begin as early as April—six weeks from now. This sets a short timeline of serious commitment from both students and the administration before more vaccinations and fewer cases decrease the need for such stringent mitigation efforts.
Both parties recognize that this pandemic has been exhausting. We’re all tired, and we’re all tired of being tired. But, there is a finish line in sight, and we all need to do a little bit better. Instead of accusing one another of a lack of caring or capability, we need to work together to push through these last few weeks.
A group of Heights editors who are committed to participating in the consistent writing of editorials comprise the editorial board. Editors who report on topics discussed in editorials are not permitted to participate in the discussion or writing of the editorial.
Members: Owen Fahy, Maddy Romance, Lauren Wittenmyer, Maggie DiPatri, Grace Mayer, Rachel Phelan, Eric Shea, Olivia Franceschini, and Gabriel Wallen .