Students must adhere to COVID-19 guidelines as Fall Quarter begins

Students must adhere to COVID-19 guidelines as Fall Quarter begins

Photo Credits: AGGIE FILE

Eased restrictions on indoor businesses means greater social responsibility from individuals

As we return to Davis, the Editorial Board urges all students to do so safely and responsibly in accordance with all public health directives to protect our community against the spread of COVID-19. 

On Sept. 30, Yolo County eased restrictions for select businesses to open indoors after the county met required red tier metrics for two weeks. Movie theaters, restaurants and places of worship are now able to open indoors with a 25% maximum occupancy. Our county is trending in the right direction, but with at least 23,000 students expected to return to Davis and its surrounding communities, it is on all of us to maintain that trend. 

Since entering the country last winter, COVID-19 has killed over 200,000 people countrywide and infected over 800,000 in California alone––more cases in one state than almost any other nation. As students return to school across the country, we find ourselves lucky enough that UC Davis is listening to the state, Yolo County and its own public health experts to create guidelines for a safe, modified return to campus.

UC Davis implemented detailed safety protocols and a comprehensive plan to gradually return to in-person instruction on campus. As students and community members, we need to do the same––both on and off campus. We must listen to our health experts at the state and local levels and follow the protective measures they advise. 

Health experts predict that a second wave of COVID-19 in the coming months will be even worse than what we’ve already seen. To mitigate the death toll and case numbers of COVID-19 in the coming months, we must follow all safety protocols, including the flu shot that is required by the University of California. As enticing as it may seem, and no matter how stressed we may be, do not risk going to a party or a non-socially distanced gathering with individuals outside of the household. The benefits of parties and gatherings do not outweigh the massive risks associated with a COVID-19 outbreak. 

There are an abundance of safe alternatives to partying or unsafe gatherings. Zoom makes it easy to connect with loved ones all at once. Video games can provide the space we need to stay in touch with friends. And physically distanced events like hiking or biking can be just as fun under proper precautions and with a mask.

Adhering to safety protocols for months has been––and will continue to be––challenging. This challenge is only exacerbated by those who do not follow public health directives. Going to a party, not wearing your mask or ignoring symptoms has devastating effects on our ability to flatten the curve and protect our community. It is important to remember that certain groups are more highly impacted by this virus than others, including some students.

It may still be difficult to come to terms with the possibility that this school year be completely online, regardless of our actions. The responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 still lies on all of us as Aggies and Davis community members. 

We cannot have a “normal” return to campus without the unified actions of all students (both on and off campus), staff and faculty. The worldwide consequences of the coronavirus cannot be understated; we recognize that these are unprecedented times not limited to the UC Davis or Davis community. We all play an essential role in the fight to mitigate the catastrophic effects of this pandemic. 

Written by: The Editorial Board