As finals approach, many of us are reflecting on the highs and lows of this semester. The uncertainty that surrounded this semester made it one for the books. The rules are meant to mediate the spread of the virus so that students can continue to go to class and have as normal of a school year as possible. However, these rules aren’t applied equally to every situation.
According to Meredith’s Community Standards, “it is strongly recommended that persons taking group photos wear face coverings, practice physical distancing and take the photographs outdoors.” It isn’t uncommon to see students taking group pictures to document things like the first day of class or Ring Ceremony. One of the times where masks aren’t required is “when outdoors and maintaining physical distance from others.” However, many students take these pictures unmasked and without maintaining social distance.
This leads to the next area of discrepancies—gatherings. In classes, students are required to wear their masks at all times. Even though most classes are held indoors, many students sit right next to each other. This, coupled with the close proximity of people taking group pictures, makes the masking rule arbitrary.
Certain traditions were not able to happen this year because of COVID guidelines. The Class of 2023’s Ring Ceremony was held at the Fletcher Opera House and only had speeches (the ceremony normally involves a dinner at a country club). Other traditions were not necessarily regulated to these rules. Cornhuskin’ was meant to be governed by the same rules as every other tradition. Despite telling students to social distance in the amphitheatre, classes still sat right next to each other.
Initially, students living on campus could only have other on-campus residents in their rooms and were limited to one student per resident. The rules have changed to allow for any Meredith student or the parent/guardian of a resident to visit. But even then, that hasn’t stopped people from bringing guests onto campus. Just two weeks ago during Belk Dining Hall’s Thanksgiving celebration, students brought their significant others and families to celebrate. Students also bring their friends onto campus to hang out in areas like the courtyard or the library that are open to guests.
Additionally, Meredith has hosted admissions events on weekends with dozens of non-Meredith students and their families coming to campus. Guests are expected to abide by the same community standards that we are. However, they aren’t required to show a negative COVID-19 test prior to coming to campus (as many of us had to at the start of the year).
Allowing dozens of non-Meredith people onto campus when it’s convenient for Meredith isn’t a fair way to enforce rules. Next semester, with the vaccination requirement in place, it makes sense that some of the Community Standards may change or be removed altogether. However, Meredith should also focus its efforts on creating uniformity.
By Aminah Jenkins, Associate Editor