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Maroons and Social Distancing

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Written by Devon Mitchell

It’s a new academic year for Roanoke College, and with it comes unprecedented circumstances to which we must adapt to. Over the summer the school has been hard at work to make sure Maroons can return to campus safely. Now it is up to the students to secure the health and safety of the Roanoke College community.

Since returning to campus 18 students and two faculty members (as of Wednesday) have tested positive. This is alarming seeing as Virginia Tech, a school with many more students and returned to campus a week earlier than us, has only 16 positive cases. Now Roanoke has once again delayed a full return to campus. If I had packed up all my belongings only to get an email saying I was not returning to school, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be upset. I, like so many of you, miss my campus, my friends, my professors, and the beautiful mountains. It was disheartening to hear student behavior was linked to positive cases. It feels like for those of us who have not returned we are being punished for the poor decisions made by some of our classmates. 

President Maxey has made it clear that student behavior directly affects the state of the situation and whether or not we continue online learning. The implications of remote learning would be felt far beyond just students. Think of your professors, the staff, and the businesses and community surrounding Roanoke. They are all impacted by our actions. We were forewarned about how campus would be when we returned. It should not be too shocking that large gatherings are not tolerated during a pandemic. Seeing as it is against Virginia state law to host large gatherings it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. We are expected, as young adults, to make responsible decisions especially when considering the lives of those around us. 

It’s been said over and over, but it needs to continue to be heard: do not party and please follow the rules. The rules are in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Yeah, it sucks. Each of us are being deprived of a college experience, but that experience will continue to be taken from us if we do not change our attitudes and behaviors. It is time for us to work together. We have the power to change the outcome of the pandemic at Roanoke College. We must continue to follow CDC guidelines and the rules the school has put into place. We will come out of this, but in the meantime let us begin adapting to the new normal.