Cartoon 8.19

It’s been a little more than a year and a half since Northwest students were sent home on an unintentionally extensive spring break. Now, Bearcats return to school to resume classes as normal — or so we thought.

President John Jasinski sent out an email to all students discussing how the campus would operate in regards to COVID-19 and mask mandates.

“Due to the volatility of the delta variant and low vaccination rates in our region, Northwest is temporarily reinstating its face covering requirement for all students, employees and visitors indoors, regardless of vaccination status, effective Friday, Aug. 13,” Jasinski wrote.

If you pay attention to the wording Jasinski used, he said, “temporarily reinstating” the mask mandate. Whether the university intends on mandating masks for a month or the rest of the semester, it seems like there’s a chance for students to go back to normal college life. However, it won’t come without some effort from the students.

As we know from last semester, the Wellness Center — in partnership with Mosaic Medical Center — is offering free vaccinations to students. Students should be utilizing this opportunity to protect not only themselves, but their friends and family members from the more contagious and deadly delta variant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the delta variant is more than twice as contagious and causes more severe symptoms in those who have not been vaccinated. Additionally, vaccinated people who come in contact with the variant will be infectious for a shorter period of time, making it harder to spread the virus that’s ruining college life.

According to the CDC’s reports, people ages 18 to 49 are in an upswing of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and are the largest demographic in hospitalizations in recent weeks. Those who aren’t wearing masks or refusing to wear masks are more at risk than the older adults who were once at higher risk when the original strain appeared nearly two years ago.

Now that the unimportant and apparently highly debatable facts have been presented, we can address the main reason why students will care about getting vaccinated.

Remember a time when you could walk to the J.W. Jones Student Union and smile at a friend without having to wave to show that you recognized them? Or when you would get that sudden thirst and could put your water bottle to your mouth without any interference? How do we get back to that?

Get vaccinated and wear your mask when you’re supposed to.

If we all got vaccinated, we wouldn’t even need to wear masks to protect each other and none of us would have to be worried about getting sick or getting loved ones sick. By refusing to get the vaccine, you’re actively ruining college for those who chose to get the vaccine as early as possible and diligently wore masks.

People who refuse to get the vaccine or wear a mask resemble those children in elementary school who wouldn’t stop talking during the movie, so the entire classroom lost movie privileges. Yes, refusing a vaccine is just as childish as a silly classroom punishment.

However, now that we’re here, we must roll with the punches COVID relentlessly throws our way.

The mask mandate is implemented to protect students and staff, but what good will it do if students don’t get the more permanent solution to the virus? If students never get vaccinated, we’ll never be “back to normal.” We all want our original sense of normalcy back.

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