News outlets all across the globe are screaming at us to wash our hands. Grocery stores and pharmacies have resorted to restricting the number of hand sanitizers, hand soaps, face masks, and gloves you can purchase at one time. Schools have begun to shut down and put contingency plans in place.
All the while, I'm still trying to pass my 18 credits for this semester and balance a part-time job into my schedule.
For the average college student, life doesn't just stop in the event of a global crisis. Our professors still hand out assignments, and we're still expected to attend our regular classes. Most of us also need to continue actively working in order to remain financially stable.
To be fair, schools aren't entirely ignoring this situation. Rowan University's solution to this growing problem is to extend our spring break by one week, and potentially move the remainder of our course for this semester onto online platforms. Other schools in New Jersey, such as Rutgers and Princeton, have taken similar actions.
However, most schools have waited until the last minute to prepare for this pandemic, even though it has been on our radar for the entirety of 2020 so far. My spring break begins this weekend, and Rowan waited until the beginning of this week to send out the announcement of the extended break and their future plans for preventing a campus-wide outbreak.
While I'm only speaking from the perspective of being a college student in Southern New Jersey, and the outbreak is fairly new here, my general consensus is that we are not acting as if we're living in the midst of a pandemic. We're loosely throwing together emergency plans, causing a mass hysteria resulting in quite a bit of racism, and sharing disrespectful memes on Facebook.
Our parents and grandparents have survived a variety of outbreaks throughout their lives, and with each one, they have a story to tell us about their experiences. In the future, we'll have either been wiped out by this virus or survived it, but at this rate, the only story we'll have to tell is about our inability to treat a global emergency seriously and with respect.