By Mataeo Smith
SUNY Plattsburgh has done a great job enforcing COVID-19 regulations on campus during the most unprecedented semester of our lives. However, the issue at hand pertains to whether students continue to be cautious while at home.
The student attempts to party this semester have been interesting. There was the beach situation Aug. 21 which led to 43 suspensions. Additionally, the campus was notified via email Sept. 21 of 15 new suspensions issued to students who had a party in a residence hall the prior week. Several groups of students have been disregarding said rules to continue partying as college students.
With winter break approaching, President Alexander Enyedi has voiced concerns through daily emails to the campus about staying vigilant while at home, so they avoid carrying more cases to the campus in the spring.
“As we have said, cases are increasing across the region, state and nation. As we enter the final two weeks of the on-campus fall semester, please continue our focus on prevention, health and safety,” Enyedi wrote in an email to the campus community.
Additionally, SUNY Plattsburgh is conducting mandatory pool testing next week before departure in an attempt to contain any preliminary COVID-19 cases on campus. Students who have at least one in-person class or work on campus must be tested before departure.
Those who test positive will be quarantined on campus for two weeks before returning to their hometown.
The college appeared to be doing just fine until the first few cases surfaced during week four and five. We are now in the home stretch of the semester and 71 students are in quarantine.
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink,” SUNY Plattsburgh junior Lucas Draffen said. “Next semester is going to be an interesting one. What is going to define it is how the state responds to COVID-19 and the guidelines put in place by Cuomo. If everyone buckles down, we could have a less-regulated semester.”
Draffen said he’s as frustrated with COVID-19 as any other student, but acknowledges the importance of self-control in these times. It’s desolate to have little faith in SUNY Plattsburgh students to abstain from social gatherings, but what do you expect? We are a party school after all.
The popular Instagram page called “Burghy’s sextape” holds weekly online Q&A forums to see what the campus has been up to for the week. Sometimes it’s harmless shenanigans like going on a hike or roommates sharing a marijuana brownie. However, students know the owner of the page won’t report them, so they’re free to admit guilt in breaking the guidelines.
Some students are even preparing activities during winter break with their friends back home.
It’s certainly not easy to abstain from partying while on your college campus, but I think everyone can handle themselves better while at home. However, unless we want to spend the next few months on our couches again, we have to suck it up and stay home. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to close all dining establishments and bars at 10 p.m in which food has to be all takeout., which went into effect yesterday, doesn’t exactly make staying at home even worse. The governor also put restrictions on private gatherings to no more than 10 people. It’s going to be a rough winter break, but let’s make sure we can return to campus next semester.
“I am proud of our students and our campus community. The first seven weeks saw no COVID-19 cases. We then saw a rise of cases and falls over the three weeks that followed,” Enyedi said. “My own observation, shared by colleagues across campus and those in the wider Plattsburgh area, is we have collectively done a good job following the Cardinal Pledge and adhering to health and safety practices.”
Enyedi said the state had directed the campus to shut down if 100 new COVID-19 cases surface over a 14-day period. The first step to this occurrence is to pause all in-person activity for two weeks.
Don’t mean to be a debbie downer here, but there’s a good chance we’re going to see a larger spike in cases next semester.