By Tiger Shi
Web Content Contributor
The question looms large over the heads of President Denise Trauth and Texas State students as to whether or not reopen the campus for business as usual pre-pandemic era. Universities are technically a business–they need money to survive.
A risk that faces Texas State’s potential reopening would endanger the health of everyone: students and faculty alike. There are calls on the administration to move classes online or follow the example of Rice University: to end the semester early (around Thanksgiving).
Moving classes online, in my opinion, would be another challenge. Some courses like chemistry require physical lab time as well as courses like the campus news program: Bobcat Update. The point is, certain courses would be impossible to move online.
These, my fellow Bobcats, are some tips that I highly recommend since Texas State is heading in the direction of an in-person fall semester.
Like the Spanish Flu, there are bound to be multiple waves of the virus. Asymptomatic or not, people will transmit it via droplets. The key is to maintain physical distance with your roommates and do NOT share silverware, food or drinking cups.
Dealing with Commonly Touched Areas
When you receive a care package or mail, be sure to quarantine it for three days, the virus will die on its own. If the mail is time-sensitive, sanitize it with Clorox wipes. Remember to sanitize areas like the inside doorknob for the front door, kitchen counters and living room spaces if needed as well as your keys. You do NOT know where your roommates have been or who they came in contact with.
Staying self-isolated will definitely be boring but necessary. This doesn’t mean your social life goes to waste. People have turned to online dating with Tinder and Bumble. As for friends, try to cancel large gatherings or hang out by Zoom. You certainly don’t want to hold a “COVID Party.”
Going Out and About
When doing a supply run, be sure to go to the store when it’s not at its peak hour where so many customers would be there. Once you come back, sanitize the groceries just to be extra safe. Remember to wipe down your car door handles, because who knows if there was some “Covidiot” that messed with your vehicle!
Speaking of cars, when getting gas, it’s better to use a paper towel to touch the gas pump. A glove is actually ineffective when preventing infection at gas stations. At the store, wear gloves while using a cart.
Class, Campus and San Marcos
Some of y’all might be wondering: how will we take notes? It’s easy. You can wipe down the desk with the disinfectant and just take notes how you normally would. Students should be socially-distanced anyway.
When navigating around campus or a public place in town, it’s suggested to use small neatly-ripped paper towels to pull open doors. If there’s a handicap button, it’s for the best to avoid contact with the door handle.
In Alkek Library, use the stairs without touching the railings. Elevators are known to be super-spreaders of the virus. If you insist on using the elevator, use a paper towel or something to touch the buttons. I’m sure the library will follow campus protocols. As for study areas and computers, wipe it down and wear gloves to access, respectively.
When you are wearing a mask (mandated by the State of Texas and TXST), please don’t touch your face, even if your allergies are acting up. I know it’s challenging, but it’s for the best to avoid infection.
Also, the front part of the mask should be assumed to be “dirty,” so it’s best to handle the mask via its strings.
Be sure to take care of everything you need to do for the day. While it is common sense to wash hands with soap frequently for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content, I’d prefer to take a shower. The virus is very microscopic and could survive on anything: from human skin to human hair.
By showering, this means that you will have more laundry days. Water bills may increase, but we have no choice to contain the virus, so conserve water accordingly. Besides showers, wipe down your wallet and anything you bring in the apartment.
During the semester, it’s best to avoid going home and or straight-up going back for winter break unless the university made an announcement. You do not want to spread it to your parents and relatives who are vulnerable. At least get tested before going home or visiting relatives.
The Apartment and Food
I have frequent-to-occasional visitors coming to my apartment. Now that we live the age of COVID, it’s best to minimize who comes over.
As regards to food, stock up well on groceries and order to-go more often than dine-in at a restaurant. Besides food, stock up well on masks, disinfectants and other supplies. I wouldn’t share with roommates, not out of selfishness, but because such anti-virus tools are in limited supply nowadays.
If you have a dog or a cat, treat them the same way you’d treat yourself in preventing the Coronavirus. This thing could infect anything living, there were tigers and lions infected with it!
Pets can also carry the virus on their fur when touched by an infected person. Be cautious of who you let pet your animal because it may track the virus into the house.
Even though the survival rate for a college student is quite high, don’t downplay the virus and flock to Sewell or the Square. I personally know a friend’s friend who got infected and went into the ICU and he’s my age!
We got this, Bobcats, so make our future semesters possible and safe. We will get through this; we will not let a crown-shaped abomination interfere with our education!
Featured image by Tiger Shi.