Editorial: In-person classes are canceled, but it’s not an excuse to party

It is time to come to terms with the severity of the virus and realize that continuing to gather in large groups increases the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

Illustration by Eva Berezovsky

Eva Berezovsky

Illustration by Eva Berezovsky

It goes without saying that the events of the past month have been unprecedented. Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, schools and universities have been shut down across the United States, putting millions out of work. While this means extreme discomfort and stress for everyone, these efforts to decrease social interaction are imperative for the health of people around the world. But it means that boredom and loneliness have ensued. 

When the number of COVID-19 cases began to rapidly rise in the United States, many college students across the country were on spring break or preparing to go on spring break. In a video that went viral in March, several “spring breakers” were interviewed complaining about how they had been planning their trips to Florida for months and that they were not leaving the crowded bars and beaches, even if it meant contracting COVID-19. This video was incredibly problematic for a number of reasons, the main one being that these people were completely disregarding how dire the consequences of their irresponsible actions could be.

Due to the University of Minnesota shutting down, many students have decided to go home instead of staying in their off-campus apartments and houses. While many are taking the current shelter-in-place order seriously, there is a disheartening number of people who are not, and it is dangerous and disrespectful to other people.

Our current reality is beyond daunting, and it is understandable that people want to spend time with friends and family as a way to cope with the stress of the pandemic. However, this does not mean that gathering in large groups is remotely acceptable.

People need to realize that just because in-person classes are canceled, that does not mean you should be partying in large groups of people. Without a vaccine, it has become apparent in the last few weeks that the only way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing and shelter in place.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently announced that the state will be practicing shelter in place until May 4. Practicing social distancing is paramount right now, and Gov. Walz’s order should be abided by.

Practicing social distancing is not easy. Being separated from friends during this frightening time is incredibly difficult, but if we do not listen to state officials and medical professionals, we risk being in isolation longer. Right now, it may seem like this separation is unbearable, but we can get through it.