Let’s make this “Lay-Low” period count

Emma Putahl – Opinion Columnist

I hope you all have stayed healthy since the fall. It is that wonderful time of year when it takes an hour to get your textbook from the Post Office and another thirty minutes to get the one lab manual you need from the Bookmark (a quick thank you to those who are working hard during this very busy and overwhelming time). With so many of us back on campus, one has to wonder if COVID has snuck its way into the dorms.
I’m sure over Winter Break, many of you went home to your families that hopefully believe this global pandemic exists. I’m also sure many of us were told multiple times that our generation is a major portion of the people carelessly spreading the virus. I kind of hope I wasn’t the only one repeatedly told this. Assuming I wasn’t, the conversation probably went something like this, “I’m surprised you are taking this so seriously. You know, people your age don’t seem to be taking this all too seriously” your random relative might comment (or at the very least, a slightly paraphrased quote from my 74-year old, liberal grandpa).
Do I love the guidelines we have to follow? Yes, actually, but I also enjoy large amounts of personal space and staying home or doing something lowkey on the weekends.
But I also realize that there are many of us that would like to be able to go places again. I’m sick of spending money on masks, even if it does look really cute, when I could buy myself a cup of coffee or buy almost anything else. I know that people who care more about their appearance on a daily basis, much more than myself, have to worry about their mask matching their outfits, or at least try not to clash with their outfits too much.
It’s winter and I’m sure most of us don’t want to do a quick dash to our cars for the mask we forgot in the center console. Do we want to risk COVID or do we want to risk completely ‘eating-it’ and slipping on the ice while the friend we brought with is recording?
Is the lay-low period enough? Are two weeks long enough? Based on the incubation time of COVID, probably not. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of it. This is for Gusties to determine. We have to practice what we preach. We need to limit our travels off-campus and not go ‘out-and-about’ every weekend. We have to stay at home more, keep to our pods, and overall limit our chance of exposure. This lay-low period is our chance to prevent the virus from spreading like wildfire across campus and across St. Peter. We don’t need to support the stereotypes of our age group being superspreaders. We should be a community that protects each other on and off-campus. Nicollet county shouldn’t have a large spike in cases just because we have returned the Hill.
It is time for us to show that we are part of the St. Peter community and not just the people who go to the expensive private college on the Hill. The best way to show that we respect and appreciate this community is to follow these guidelines. Many of us will only live here for the four-years until we graduate. How we respond to the pandemic will be remembered. This community is too small to forget. Let’s have this time be remembered as when we all came together, with respect for each other, by following the guidelines set in place for us. We can whine and complain about it all we want, but we must follow and accept what is going on in the world right now, so we are able to heal and recover swiftly. I don’t know about you, but I would really like to hide my masks away in the back of a drawer and hopefully never look at them again.
When you get irritated with the pandemic, think of your cute, sweet old grandparents, and remember to wear your mask and cover your nose. If your grandparents are not cute or sweet, just pretend Dr. Fauci is your grandpa and wear your mask correctly for him. Remember, if you hate wearing masks and social distancing, the quicker we all adhere to the guidelines, the quicker we should be able to stop following them and go back to some form of normalcy.

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