The COVID-19 Update You've All Been Waiting For

We’re about a month into the semester, and as the downtown State College parties rage on, so does coronavirus.

Penn State has set up a coronavirus dashboard where the university updates the ever-rising numbers on Tuesdays and Fridays. As of Wednesday, September 23rd, the total number of positive cases that have been reported are 1,665.

Penn State also announced recently that the Spring 2021 semester will follow the current Fall semester’s hybrid instructional mode of online and in-person classes — unless you’re like me and all your classes are on Zoom anyway. 

Coronavirus Unsplash

According to a Penn State News release, Barron commented, “At this time, we do not need to change our current modality and hybrid on-campus approach.” 

So it seems that for the time being, we’re staying on campus. 

However, therein lies a dilemma. I don’t think classes or bars are necessarily where people are catching the virus. Although bars may be a contributor, they seem to be doing pretty well with limited capacity, mask mandates, and social distancing. 

My guess is the off-campus parties are what’s really spreading the virus. Firsthand, I know an off-campus group of people living together — who currently have the virus — that were throwing parties all weekend long. 

Woman sitting on a white window sill looking out into the distance Photo by Alexandre Chambon on Unsplash

Further, several people in my apartment building throw parties that most definitely have more than ten people. This is where the heart of the issue is, and unless you throw people out of the city, you can’t exactly stop people from gathering in off-campus locations. 

So even if Barron decided to cancel in-person classes and recommend people go home, people off-campus could easily stay and keep spreading the virus to more vulnerable populations. Further, if you send people home — it’s likely some people may bring the virus back to their hometowns which creates another problem. 

Ultimately, all we can do as students is remember to social distance, wear masks, and wash our hands. Hopefully this takes a turn for the better, but only time will tell.