College Students Must Do Their Part to Flatten the Curve


The spread of the novel coronavirus has continued to escalate. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, which went into effect at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. The order effectively closed all non-essential operations.

We are perhaps at a turning point in the pandemic. With so many of the activities in our daily routine now unavailable, the practice of social distancing is urged stronger than ever.

Prior to this month, many of us had never even heard the term. But now, it is impossible to avoid. Major television corporations including NBCUniversal and ABC are airing messages about washing your hands, and digital applications including Instagram and Spotify are telling their users to stay home via pop-ups and stories.

The Fordham Ram knows its readers have probably heard the argument to stay inside many times before. Still, the message bears repeating — especially for college students, as young people are disproportionately acting in opposition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s guidance.

Notoriously, a video from CBS News showed interviews with beachgoers in Florida enjoying spring break despite the warnings. Each of these young adults featured in the video expressed that the response to the outbreak was over the top. As one of the spring breakers told the interviewer, “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

It was later reported that five Florida college students who had been on a spring break trip together have already tested positive for COVID-19.

The attitude of young people during this outbreak is incredibly important. While many of us may believe our youth and good health means that we can ignore the virus, this is far from the truth. We are not invincible, and by engaging in activities such as spring break trips, we are demonstrating selfishness above all else.

We implore our peers to take this issue as seriously as issues like climate change. Young people have made an incredible difference in the fight against climate change, and we must continue that trend. Just as we ask the older generations to pay attention to our impact on the environment, it is our responsibility to listen to their guidance now.

We want to echo The Fordham Ram’s 2019 editorial board’s message in the movement for climate change. Younger generations have an incredible amount of power at this time. We want to inspire everyone to follow the guidelines and be a role model for those around them. By demonstrating a passion for this issue as well, we, as a generation, can prove our ability to facilitate meaningful change.

Please remember everyone who will be affected by your decisions. Even if you may not be in serious danger if you contract the virus, ignoring the precautions puts vulnerable populations at risk.

Though social distancing is the right thing to do regarding the virus, there are consequences that are difficult to deal with. Naturally, the reduced contact with others can easily make someone feel lonely. While modern technology allows for video-chatting and frequent digital contact with friends and family, it is not the same. Humans are naturally social beings, and this behavior is far from natural for us.

We also want to acknowledge that social distancing and quarantining is not an easy task. College students are in a uniquely difficult position. We imagine many college students are struggling to adapt to living back home, which is not a supportive environment for everyone. Being in the house all day, without extracurriculars or sports or social gatherings, may have many people feeling restless — especially those who spend so much time involved on campus.

However, this is an opportunity to take advantage of more time to reconnect with loved ones as well as yourself. In our normal routines, we rarely have the time to slow down and reflect on where we are in our lives. Though all of this change is certainly overwhelming, we hope that you all can remain calm and find the patience to carry on amid the chaos.

We are all struggling with losses resulting from the virus. However, we at The Fordham Ram want to amplify gratitude and kindness at this time. Though we are missing moments at college that we may not have the chance to have again, remember why we are doing this. 

We want to remind you of the words from Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, in response to this crisis: “I ask you to put your generosity of heart to good use in a world that is deeply wounded at the moment.” 

It is our responsibility to carry the kindness that we have learned with us and to prove that our generation is up to the tasks necessary to protect the well-being of everyone.