By Jillian LaFeir
Living on campus is living with constant bated breath. You never know when you will receive that email to pack up and get out, but you know it is going to come. Especially when every time you blink, another college’s cases have spiked, and students are sent home to be fully remote for the remainder of the semester. It seems inevitable that this is in the future of every college in a state that is at least trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic. While Rider does have rules in place, whether they are being followed and more importantly enforced, is a different story.
Before returning to campus, I was confident in Rider’s steps to ensure the safety of its students and staff, and I believed if we could all come together and adhere to these rules, we might have a chance at staying on campus for more than a week. Then, I got to campus. As soon as I walked into my residence hall, the first thing I saw were people without masks, which according to Rider’s Resolved and Ready plan, must be worn in residence buildings anytime you leave your room. It is no secret that mandating masks has been causing an uproar with many people, as everyone has a different comfort zone when it comes to this virus and many people do not feel the need to wear a mask. The point is, this is one of Rider’s rules, and I have not seen anyone enforcing it unless you are going inside a nonresidential building. From my experience, that is not an isolated case. Plenty of people are not wearing masks where they should be. Based on what I’ve experienced, next to nothing is being enforced — I haven’t heard of anyone who is using the Campus Clear app, which students are supposed to utilize to report their symptoms, and there have been times when there was no one at the stations in dining facilities to take my temperature. What is being enforced is not being taken as seriously as it should. There are no rules, only suggestions.
I believe an essential rule to control the spread, and the most relevant to a college campus, is the limit of people gathering in enclosed spaces. In this case, the limit of guests in residential buildings. I completely acknowledge that it is a very hard to job to regulate all of these things.
I am not alone in these feelings. This is not a time to be lenient, and I do not appreciate how our lives are being gambled with. All anyone wants is to have a good experience on campus this year, but by doing so carelessly, you are jeopardizing having an experience at all.