PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – COVID-19 issues on college campuses were expected and predicted.
Those predictions are now coming true, in just the past seven days issues have come upon the Pitt, Penn State, IUP, Slippery Rock, and WVU campuses.
Sam Bliss is a Pitt student from St Louis and says no one should be surprised.
“I’d say there’s definitely a portion of the college-age population that is to blame,” she said.
The number of parties and flaunting of the safety precautions the Universities have laid out are openly acknowledged by students who are trying to comply.
“A lot of students just think ‘oh I’m at college I’m here to party and like have a good time,'” says Grace Klick of Reading, PA. “But then you have to think about it’s not just a college campus it’s a community, people live here, you know.”
Students are not focused on COVID-19, they are focused on settling into the campus scene and meeting new people says Vince Inhorn of Cape Elizabeth, ME.
“I try to stick to the rules but every once in a while I’ll do something by mistake that I didn’t realize was a violation,” he said.
“I don’t think they know how to handle it, because it’s never been an issue before,” says Ava Laglia of New Jersey. “So they are trying to act like college is normal but it’s not right now.”
Nikki Kudamik and Zavier Fackler are freshmen from Butler and had just gotten their breakfast when they paused to reflect on the COVID violators.
“I do think a lot them don’t take it very seriously,” Nikki said.
“But I think a lot of us get a bad rap because a lot of us are following the rules and making sure we wear masks and stay socially distant,” Zavier added. “But those who aren’t following those are giving us a bad rap.”
Anna Malanowski of Glenside, Pa., agrees its an overreach to brand college students as irresponsible.
“It’s a big generalization there are a lot of students who aren’t following the rule but there are a lot that are too,” she said.
“The people that’s I’ve met have taken this seriously,” says Isabelle Gonzalez from Northern Virginia. “There are reasons why we have rules on campus, its to keep everyone safe. So I think a student should try and follow those rules.”
A few students question the decision by the universities to bring students back to their campuses.
Elliott Duncan from Wexford says what is happening was inevitable.
“College students have been home for like, three or four months, and they are let go of their parents,” he described. “They like, come out here and they just want to be free. and I get that but I think they should still be safe more than that.”
Klick gives the University some credit.
“Pitt is really trying they are sending a lot of emails and our RA’s are enforcing it in our halls,” she said.
As students talk about the cloud of COVID hanging over the beginning of the semester there is almost no concern expressed about actually catching the virus.
Instead, the concern is about maintaining the college experience, and their ability to get back into the classroom and to be with friends.
That’s what angers students like Aarushi Tripathy as she sees students not being COVID safe.
“To those, they deserve whatever punishment they need to get to take it seriously because if they don’t take it seriously it’s going to hurt all of us in the long run,” she said.
They know because it’s happening to their friends around the country.
“My friend goes to Taos University and she just found out she’s getting sent home after three days of classes,” said Klick.
Since UNC Chapel Hill, then Notre Dame, then Michigan State was forced by COVID to go online the number of schools has grown.
Tripathy put into words what so many said in many ways.
“I really want to be able to stay here at Pitt,” she pleaded. “It was a risk coming here this semester and I really want to come back in the spring semester and go to classes in person but for that to happen we all need to follow the rules that were put in place to keep us safe.”