Well, you knew this was coming.
There was a big party in Morgantown last weekend at one of the fraternities that has dissociated with WVU. Pictures showed partiers with no masks and no social distancing.
WVU reacted quickly, denouncing the gathering and promising an investigation to determine which students were not complying with the University’s pandemic guidelines.
“There will be consequences for those who refused to do the right thing—including expulsion,” said Corey Farris, WVU Dean of Students.
The state’s largest university has gone to great lengths to try to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff while reopening. However, plans and precautions can only accomplish so much. Students must also do their part.
“Being a Mountaineer means living our values,” Farris said. “We expect our students to show respect and appreciation for others by wearing their masks and following the rules.”
If not, the situation can get out of hand quickly. Just look at what happened at the University of North Carolina.
UNC moved all classes online this week after 130 students were infected with Covid-19. Outbreaks occurred at three residence halls and a fraternity. The University said in a statement posted on Twitter, “We feel that under these circumstances, it is the best decision for our community.”
UNC is not going to be alone. Reports are popping up at other college campuses—Oklahoma State and the University of North Georgia to name two—of large gatherings of students ignoring safety measures.
More outbreaks will mean more colleges will be forced to switch entirely to online classes.
There is an irony here: Students are on campus because they want the whole college experience as part of their education. However, students who refuse to follow safety measures threaten the ability of themselves and others to have that traditional experience.
But, as the saying goes, you can’t fix stupid.
Morgantown already has an unfortunate example of what happens when too many people congregate. Earlier this summer the number of active Covid-19 infections shot up to around 400 because of people crowding into downtown bars.
WVU officials are aware of how student parties can get out of control. The University has taken an increasingly hard line on the miscreants. Now during a pandemic, the stakes are even higher, and so should be the consequences for those who refuse to follow the most basic safety precautions.