Fall semester is feeling like a ticking time bomb

Sam TapperManaging Editor

Midterm exams are happening and midterm grades are slowly being filed, signifying that we are roughly halfway through a semester like no other. Each day feels like its own little victory, but the thought that everything could drastically change in an instant still looms over in people’s minds.

To some of us, these past eight weeks have felt like eight years, and it has felt like lifetimes since there was that feeling of life “as we knew it.” The reality: this is all developing at lightspeed, and the world is a different place now even from when we started school in August.

In recent weeks and days, the U.S. has surpassed eight million positive COVID-19 cases. For reference, the country’s population, (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) is roughly 330 million. That means that roughly one out of every 41 people have tested positive.

Even the President of the United States, after months of downplaying the virus’ severity, tested positive. For reference, a sitting president contracting a deadly disease is, in fact, a national emergency, regardless of whether President Trump wants to admit to that.

It is an unprecedented event. I think there has only been one other case around the year in the 1800s.

Case-in-point: the world is still figuratively (and in some cases, literally) burning while we are proceeding with our semester. Indeed, this can be chalked up as a positive, as despite what is happening around us, we are still able to function and go about our duties- a testament to the commendable efforts the administration went through to get us back here.

In contrast: as a university, it feels more as though it will not be at this point, but when? Students and faculty have all, from what I have witnessed, been cooperative when it comes to new campus guidelines, but we can only control so much. Even with the mask wearing and all the plexiglass separation, this virus does not take pity on those who work to prevent it.

As a university, we have done a tremendous job so far, and that is a fact. Not only are we still on-campus after eight weeks, but there have been no legitimate signs of an outbreak; no temporary flex to online-learning or nothing.

However, every time I see the COVID-19 Dashboard email come into my inbox from Patrick Dilger, I am petrified. After viewing each dashboard so far, I have been relieved every time, but all it takes is one spike to throw our semester on a roller coaster.

Am I personally scared for my health? Not necessarily, no. While I certainly do not want the virus, my fears mainly lie with my 87-year-old grandmother and my parents, both over 50.

My fears lie with those students who cannot complete a semester with online learning. My fears lie in many places, and yours should too. This is serious business.

So please, continue to follow the regulations.

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