BROCKPORT, N.Y.- The social lives of SUNY Brockport students are divided in half as the COVID-19 pandemic trudges on. COVID-19 continues to test the friendships of many as viewpoints towards attending large off-campus gatherings continue to differ.
SUNY Brockport, via their website, states that the town of Brockport police has implemented a zero-tolerance policy for large social gatherings. Brockport has announced that the town police will be administering tickets for an undisclosed sum of money to the hosts of gatherings as well as anyone attending that is caught.
This has not stopped the students in the surrounding area from partaking in such activities however, many students feel as if the regulations set forth by the college are enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 around the town.
Currently students that live on campus or attend in person classes are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test once a week. Offering the option to seek out their own tests or reserve a time during the weekly pool testing that is conducted at the Serc, Brockport attempts to accommodate those that will be on campus. Students that live in off-campus housing are currently not subject to any of the regulations set forth by SUNY Brockport unless they are attending in person classes or wish to use on-campus facilities.
“We get tested once a week, that’s more than enough to make sure that we don’t have anything. I came to college to have fun- not to sit in my apartment,” Jessica Jones, a Brockport student stated. “My course-load is so stressful this semester if I don’t go out on the weekends and have fun I’d be totally burnt out.”
A junior at the college, Jones finds herself in a predicament that college students across the world face currently- the fear of not making the most out of the experience.
Jones, like many of the students that live in off campus housing is faced with the ethical issue of continuing conducting her social life as she did in previous semesters or choosing to adhere to the social distancing guidelines put forth by New York State.
“I think that if people don’t want to go out they shouldn’t. But I shouldn’t be facing serious fines because I want to party with some of my friends,” Jones said.
Some students, such as sophomore Mady Reid believe that the off-campus students hosting parties are doing more harm than good.
“I don’t think it’s responsible, my life and the life of others is more important than one night of having fun,” Reid said.
Reid, who recently lost her grandmother to COVID-19 this past winter, believes that Brockport’s implementation of strict consequences is warranted.
“I think that if you choose to party you should be choosing to understand the consequences. Not following coronavirus guidelines is a privilege that not everyone has,” Reid said.
Many share the same opinion as Reid, choosing instead to attend many of the events that SUNY Brockport hosts. The college has opted to host online events such as zoom cooking as well as in-person events, which include SUNY Brockport programs from previous semesters such as succulent potting and blanket making.
Some off-campus students, including junior Janada Prior, believe that the biggest issue in dealing with people that attend large gatherings is knowing who to avoid.
“I keep the group people that I hang out with in person small, if I see someone that I was supposed to hang out with on social media at a party I cancel plans. I have a family that I cannot risk visiting and infecting,” Prior said.
Prior, a certified nursing assistant (CNA), explained as a frontline healthcare worker she considers the concept of contact tracing when inviting people over.
“Yeah we get tested every week, but in between that week you never know what could happen, some people are asymptomatic. Within the weeklong period between tests, they could infect people and not even know. It’s really a game of COVID-19 roulette,” Prior stated.
As the demand for COVID-19 vaccines exceeds the speed that they can be administered and a new strain of the virus is currently being identified, students undoubtedly will continue to face the decisions of socially distancing or socially gathering.