The Jambar Editorial: Are we easing up too soon?

We’re a little over a month into the semester, and while COVID-19 protocols are still firmly in place, there seems to be a relaxing of the efforts of some students and faculty to remain masked and socially distanced. 

A professor may express that it’s harder to form connections with students while they are wearing masks and others may lament that spaces on campus like The Cove are not as exciting as they were before March 2020. But this is the world we live in right now — we would all get through it faster if everybody took these small steps to keep others safe. 

Cases at Youngstown State University have dropped significantly in the past couple of weeks, going all the way down to 14 cases the last time numbers were reported. Whether that’s due to fewer people actually being sick or less testing remains to be seen. Regardless of the cause, it has led to more people easing their efforts to keep other Penguins safe. 

Who hasn’t, in the past month, seen a student walk into class without a mask only to put one on once they are firmly in their seat? Who hasn’t had a teacher or classmate come increasingly close to you, only to have to be reminded to stay six feet away? 

Yes, there are schools around the country relaxing their COVID-19 restrictions. However, these schools are in states like Massachusetts and Vermont — states which lead our country in vaccination rates. 

This has been the pattern for the last two years — cases rise, regulations go in place, cases fall, regulations are relaxed, and then cases rise again. Maybe it’s time to take the guidelines in place seriously even past the time cases start to drop. 

This isn’t to say masks aren’t inconvenient or that it isn’t sad that campus events are not what they were before the pandemic. However, a mask is less inconvenient than going back to virtual class and life because we eased up too quickly. 

Ultimately, at this point in the COVID-19 timeline, it’s up to each of us to do what we can for everybody here at YSU. Whether that means simply wearing your mask or calling out others for not following guidelines, you have to do what you are comfortable doing — if that means not wearing a mask or relaxing your own guidelines, just hope that you aren’t putting any of your fellow Penguins in danger by doing so.