It's no question that we are all on edge during this time of uncertainty.
I'm a college freshman at Florida Gulf Coast University that willingly chose to live on campus and take in-person classes. Still, I am weary of my peers' whereabouts, especially after reports of off-campus partying.
Stepping foot on campus for the first time as a freshman was a daunting experience.
Not only was I in a new environment, but I was worried for my health as well. I noticed that some of my classmates didn't respect the university's simple guidelines, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
It is worth mentioning that at FGCU, the professor reserves the right to cancel class if a student refuses to wear a mask. In this case, my professor didn't request my peers to cover their mouths and nose fully and chose to continue the lecture.
This is just one case where students are not practicing what the university is preaching.
The university reported two off-campus parties a week ago, resulting in the suspension of two fraternities.
While at Starbucks, I observed a party of four conversing at a table with no food or mask in sight. As frustrating as it may seem, this is a common occurrence here at FGCU and other universities around the country.
How does an institution of this magnitude regulate social gatherings?
I commend FGCU's initial steps, but they need to extend beyond the email updates and health questionnaires. Vague questions regarding student health seem to be only half of the issue in ensuring student safety.
With students traveling from different backgrounds, counties, or states that may not have taken necessary precautions, many have different views on what they should do regarding COVID-19.
Who is at fault if students contract COVID-19—the students who break the rules or the university that sets them?
The university and students need to make a combined effort to create a safe environment where education thrives. Taking after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's COVID-19 outbreak is not what I want to remember from my first year in college, so we must take action now before it is too late.