Erin Reilly, Editor-in-Chief
St. John Fisher College is now in the fifth week of its semester that has been defined by COVID-19 rules and restrictions. Students are seen around campus with face coverings, practicing social distancing, and participating in virtual classes and conferences.
The school’s website has a number of different policies listed for students to abide by while on campus. The different policies include a face covering policy, communal food policy, campus access and visitors policy, quarantining and isolation, and more.
In addition to the policies and procedures listed, the website includes a pledge that all Fisher students and faculty were asked to complete upon their return to campus. Part of the pledge read, “I understand that my conduct and activity both on- and off-campus may have an impact on my fellow Fisher community members and understand my responsibility to help keep my community healthy and safe.”
— St. John Fisher College (@FisherNews) August 24, 2020
In early September, the COVID-19 Monitoring Team released a statement to the members of the campus community that the school had updated their response to student behaviors. This was, as the email read, “based on a small number of incidents involving risky behaviors we have addressed in the first two weeks of the semester.” The rules were then very clear.
“Going forward, students who are involved in alleged conduct violations involving occupancy policies (on-campus) and/or local and state guidance on gatherings (on- and off-campus), in combination with the failure to maintain social distancing and not masking, will be removed from campus on an interim basis and required to self-quarantine off-campus for 14 days,” the email read.
The email also pointed out that a student conduct meeting would be scheduled whenever feasible, and that they would receive communication from the Office of Student Conduct to work out the details and discuss the violations.
As this statement and the new response to these behaviors started to circulate around campus, students began to voice their concerns about their peers who weren’t following the rules. Matthew Sciandra, a senior at Fisher in his last semester, expressed his concerns regarding the behavior of his fellow students. “I’ve only heard a few instances of students going out to large parties off campus. I usually hear them from students that know someone at the party or from students that have seen videos/pictures on social media of others partying.”
Sciandra said that students most likely aren’t taking this virus seriously because they are young adults, who are less vulnerable to its effects. “There’s always the possibility of spreading the virus to others that have an underlying health condition that will face severe consequences,” Sciandra said. He noted that he likes being in the classroom better, and that online learning makes it harder to focus, so being sent home because of a rise in cases on campus would not be ideal.
“At the end of the day, this virus won’t last forever. In the meantime, I think we all should try our best to mitigate the spread in order to help the community as a whole.”