Colleges have begun reopening across the school despite the pandemic continuing all across the United States. While many colleges have pulled the plug and opted to go online, others are still holding in-person classes. Some people claim that the decision to hold in-person classes is dangerous and irresponsible, but at the same time, we need to be willing to hold students accountable for their actions.
Gettysburg College has the ability to test every student on campus and retest them throughout the semester. Students are provided with masks and a lot of effort went into installing signage, social distancing marks, and plexiglass. Employees have been trained in order to contact trace, but some people are still expecting an outbreak. And it's true that there is a very serious possibility that an outbreak will occur on campus but, when the school is doing everything in its power to keep students safe, we need to begin holding students responsible for their own actions.
When students make the decision to party, not wear masks, and not follow guidelines, the school is not to blame. The majority of college students are legal adults. They can vote, open bank accounts, and get married. When we claim that we can't expect college students to follow coronavirus guidelines, it raises the question of "are students able to make rational decisions?" The fact is that society has decided that an eighteen-year-old should be capable of making decisions at the polling booth also implies that they should be capable of following guidelines laid out by the school.
In the case of Gettysburg College, the school has been very clear on expectations for students and employees. Students are provided with masks and told when and where they are expected to wear them. The college is spending a lot of money to bring students back and thanks to the nature of the small, isolated campus, it is possible that we can make it to Thanksgiving without any major outbreaks. But students need to be held accountable. Because college students are adults that are given all the tools and information they need to make the right choice.
So let's stop making excuses.