The Maine Millennial: When back to school seems like Russian live roulette – Press Herald

6September 2020

We sent my sibling back to the University of Maine Orono last week. I have actually never played Russian roulette before, however I believe this should be what it seems like. It seems like we’re just awaiting COVID-19 to start circulating and to begin killing.

I desired my sibling to stay home and do this term essentially, but I comprehend why she returned. She’s got pals. She likes her professors and is involved with a lot of school activities. And no 20-year-old wants to be stuck at home with their mother and their older sis and the older sibling’s weird loud dog. And I trust my sister to use her mask and keep her range and to wash her hands a whole bunch. We sent her up with plenty of hand sanitizer and disposable masks to keep in her backpack to distribute to anyone who might require them. And I trust my sibling. If there’s one good idea about having a parent who had cancer, it’s that you viscerally comprehend the value of securing immunocompromised individuals.

I do not rely on the thousands of other students living on and around campus. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 22 are not understood for their danger management abilities. That’s why their cars and truck insurance rates are so costly. In deciding to reopen the school, it seems like administrators at the University of Maine took everything we know about how college students tend to behave and just threw that out the window.

I think the university should have done everything from another location that they possibly could, and booked in-person learning for classes that absolutely can’t be moved totally online; you can do literature classes over Zoom however, for instance, you can’t research the molecular structure of fish brains.

The university has actually put a reasonable quantity of effort into testing– my sister was evaluated as soon as she got here on campus, together with everybody else. That’s excellent. Trainees living on-campus have access to quarantine spaces if they check positive and need to separate themselves, and support consisting of meal delivery. This is excellent and makes sense. However, trainees living off-campus do not have access to those resources.

That’s bad and does not make a ton of sense from a public health perspective. Basically, the university’s health and wellness strategies all rely on a bunch of university student being completely safe and self-sacrificial one hundred percent of the time. All it takes is one off-campus house party, or one trainee not self-reporting signs (because who wants to be sent out to the isolation dormitory for 2 week?) and there will be a break out. I indicate, simply consider the things you did when you were 19. Would you put public health into your own hands? I sure wouldn’t. I was an idiot in college. The pre-frontal cortex, the part of the human brain that supervises of decision-making, isn’t fully developed till around age 25. We have actually had more than a century to observe the traditional American college experience, and for over a century it has included lots of celebrations, trainees talking in each other’s faces, and overconsumption of alcohol. All things that must be prevented in a pandemic.

However obviously, it all boils down to cash, as usual. Most institution of higher learnings do not have billion-dollar endowments. And while you might think that UMaine, as a state school, gets support from the state, the truth is that they do not get enough. It’s not just tuition, which is what trainees pay for classes– professors are still teaching. It’s the space and board cash. The university depends on students paying for the privilege to live in close quarters in dorms on campus– which is precisely the situation you want to prevent in a pandemic. Orono is a college town loaded with services big and small who count on the student population to pay their expenses.

My mama and I have been video gaming out circumstances for the inevitable coronavirus break out. Will it remain in a fraternity home? A class? Off-campus cases, where students are residing in homes not under university jurisdiction, resulting in additional on-campus spread is the situation I find most likely. Will the school make it to winter break, or will campus close down as soon as the refund date for space and board cash passes?

It feels like we are sending countless young people into the maw of possible death or long-term special needs due to the fact that administrators couldn’t discover anybody to pay the bill for prolonged shutdowns and online knowing. The state does not have a lots of additional money. The federal government is AWOL. We’re gazing down the barrel of a gun. “Overlooking an infectious disease” and “pretending things are great and typical” are terrible plans.

However obviously they are the only plans anybody has presented. I am terrified.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
e-mail safeguarded] Twitter: @mainemillennial

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