Before the COVID 19 pandemic hit, I had already signed a lease agreement to live in an off campus apartment for the 2020-2021 school year. Just like many of my peers (and neighbors), we truly could not have foreseen something of this magnitude happening in November or December, when many housing arrangements are finalized. When we were informed over the summer that classes would start up in a hybrid form, I ecstatically got ready to move back to my off-campus apartment. Now that I am here, I can already sense that this is a recipe for disaster.
I will admit, the prospect of having a change of pace from living at home over the summer was very enticing. Being around my apartment-mates, and working in a new set-up is a great opportunity to reinvigorate my then dwindling work ethic. I got to campus a week before classes started so I could settle in, and put finishing touches on some projects I was working on over the summer.
Once classes started, I could sense that students were restless, and wanted to turn up with friends after not being able to see them since early March. Tons of off campus ‘kick backs’ were thrown, and it was obvious by how loud they were partying. I’ll be honest, it sounded real fun, but there’s also the reality that we are still living in a global pandemic… With people dying… And social distancing and quarantining is still a thing…
The Daily Trojan wrote “Between Aug. 15 and Aug. 29, the coronavirus positivity rate among students rose from 3.6% to 27.5%,”. That is a HUGE jump by any metric. You could argue that you need to look at who is getting tested, and all these other if’s and buts. But definitively, there is a jump in transmissions, and transmissions only happen when people are in contact with each other. People may think they’re safe just because they are hanging out in their living room with some close friends they’ve known since freshman year. But some hypothetical contact tracing might give an insight into whether simple hangouts in your apartment with friends are safe.
Hypothetically, let say you live in a 4 person apartment, and you decide to have a board/movie/drinking night. The activity doesn’t really matter, besides that fact that you are all in the same setting for the span of several hours. Now hypothetically, lets say ‘Joe’ comes over to join cause he’s got nothing else to do. Joe is a pretty safe guy. He wears his mask, he doesn’t go out, he generally just quarantines like he should. He’s decided that to reduce his risk of exposure, he only hangs out with the friends from the apartment hes visiting at the moment. But hypothetically, if one of Joe’s roommates hangs out with someone else who hangs out with someone who is not very careful, there is a huge recipe for disaster. If that person has covid, then everyone that was just mentioned is at risk for getting covid. All it takes is just one positive person, and next thing you know you have an epidemic in your friend group.
On that note, I hope for the best with everyone’s school year! Study hard, and stay safe!