Education

Face Mask, Social Distancing, and Frequent Testing Impact Students’ Lives

Pilar Briggs

Covid-19, a serious virus that causes respiratory symptoms and even death, has affected millions around the world. From employees not being able to report to their work buildings, to families not being able to spend holidays and birthdays together, this virus has caused daily routines of people to change drastically. High schoolers and college students have also felt the effects of this seemingly uncontrollable virus as well.

With high schools, colleges & universities’ classrooms being closed, students must do virtual schooling via Blackboard, Zoom, etc. Because the lectures are for students to simply listen and ask questions, they cannot interact with each other like they would in a physical classroom. While this may be an ideal situation for teachers to instruct classes, students struggle with the new reality.

(L-r) Freshmen Madison Burnite and Mayanah McIntosh completing coursework.

According to Fox45 News, a 14-year-old, Maryland high schooler, Michael Myronuk Jr. committed suicide in later 2020 after a brief battle with depression, due to the struggles of being without his classmates. On October 5th, Michael’s mother, Heathyr Sidle, became worried and emailed his school, Dulaney High School, where she learned that he stopped attending classes and turning in assignments. After further back-and-forth communication about Michael’s behavior and ways to help him, he ended his life on October 20th. Sidle concluded that, “There’s just so much isolation you can put any human being in. And since March, to imagine, just being a teenager is hard enough,”.

Dulaney High School student, Michael Myronuk, Jr., 14

Starting August 2020, colleges & universities decided to allow for a limited number of students to come back and try to live a somewhat normal college student life. But how can students feel the true essence of college life with the new rules set in place?

Here at Delaware State University, students must get tested twice a week for Covid-19, stay 6 ft apart from each other in public spaces and cannot bring visitors to their residence hall buildings. Student organizations also have the option of hosting in-person events. However, the events must have a limited number of attendees.

‘Face Mask Required’ Sign Posted in the Administration building’s Market.

On DSU’s campus, dining halls have changed their business hours. Tubman-Laws rotating cafeteria no longer serves dinner, which is an inconvenience for Tubman-Laws residence. Conrad dining hall is also closed, leaving The Village dining hall as the alternative for those who want to use meal plan swipes. The MLK Student Center’s retail dining companies have also limited their business hours and days.

Social distancing has also called for annual college activities to be cancelled or postponed. Instead of Homecoming taking place in September-October, it will be taking place in April. While the men’s basketball team has a packed 2020-21 schedule, the football has managed to schedule only 6 games with 3 other colleges, Howard University, University of Delaware and South Carolina State University. These games will start on February 27th and end on April 10th.

Student Hajara Bakaar speaks on her thoughts about there only being 6 games set for the football season, “I understand that the school is trying to have somewhat of a football season for the year, but if it’s going to be only 6 games, then what’s the point?”  

Student Aaminah Foye gives similar thoughts on Homecoming being pushed to April, “Yes, Homecoming is part of every school’s tradition and we all want it to happen. But, how is it supposed to be successful when the virus is still here? I wouldn’t be surprised if the school cancels Homecoming in April, because I don’t see the virus dying down by then.”

It is safe to say that this is our new normal- masks always worn, keeping 6 ft apart, cancelled events, virtual classes and a virtually empty campus. In the meantime, students and faculty should continue to do their part in keeping the campuses safe and maybe we will see mask-less faces again.

Categories: Education, Environment, Health

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