As COVID-19 cases steadily rise at CU, each moment one has to spend on campus can feel like a dangerous trial. The very sight of another person is a terrifying experience . However, there is an even more shocking reality at hand: there are many CU students who actually live on campus. A frightening thought, and worse, they live all together in large buildings that house many students. With the party culture at the university still thriving, it is hard to imagine a worse place for containing the spread of an infectious disease than a central hub where students hungry for the campus experience interact after satiating their desires.
The spread of disease from student to student is of primary concern, though, for the students living in the dorms themselves. The risk of getting sick also comes with the risk of spreading it to a friend, a roommate, or even a family member during Thanksgiving break. No student wants to see their friends and family sick or worse, and so they must play a dangerous game — one where the consequences could spell death. Avoiding those fellow students who could do them harm, partygoers and anti-maskers alike, all while trapped in close quarters with those same students is surely no easy task. Earth Muffins correspondent Cool C had a conversation with an anonymous student currently living in the dorms about the grave situation at hand:
COOL C: Is avoiding people who could be sick difficult while living in the dorms?
STUDENT (Anonymous, but he looked like a Dennis — male, dark hair, about 5’6”, sorta squirrelly, you know the type): It’s a constant struggle. All I want to do is play scrabble against myself but my roommate is always coming back drunk from frat parties or bringing his drunk friends back to our room. I’m always afraid one of them will get me sick, especially because they keep vomiting in our trash cans
COOL C: Oh God, did you take the trash out in here before I came in?
DENNIS: Yeah yeah don’t worry about that, there shouldn’t be any puke in here anymore
COOL C: Are you sure? I CANNOT get sick. Like, seriously. I have 3 exams this week. You HAVE to tell me if you’re sick.
DENNIS: Yeah man I cleaned the room before you got here, just chill. You’re literally interviewing me about avoiding sick people, I’m not gonna get you sick. Please just keep asking questions
COOL C: Fine. What do you do to avoid people who might be sick?
DENNIS: Well usually I just leave and walk somewhere if there are people in the room, but otherwise it’s pretty easy to tell who’s the type of person to, like, not wear a mask or go to parties or stuff like that, so you just try not to be in a room with them and go about your day or whatever.
COOL C: What if it’s not obvious? You seem pretty lax about it for someone who’s trying not to get sick.
DENNIS: I’m very fucking concerned about it, just so you know. Anyway, anyone who isn’t obviously going to parties and stuff like that might still be going, ya know? And they just don’t want anyone to know. You kinda have to try and pay attention to who’s going where throughout the day, and notice if anyone is acting suspicious.
COOL C: Suspicious?
DENNIS: Yeah you know, like going to the library at 9 PM and coming back drunk or if you see them without a mask on or notice they don’t wash their hands after getting back to the dorm from wherever. Only people who don’t give a shit about–
COOL C: Could you try not to swear anymore? This is for my website and I don’t know how to edit the audio transcription.
DENNIS: Fine, whatever. Also, anytime someone on the floor tests positive, they have to tell the RA, and they call a meeting with everyone and try to figure out where they got sick from. If they admit to going to a party or a gathering or whatever they get sent home, so most people won’t admit to it. That’s why you have to pay attention. I’m not about to let those people stay in the dorm getting people sick.
COOL C: Does that system work? How many people get sent home?
DENNIS: We’ve had like 20 people sent home from this building in the past two weeks. People got pretty good at noticing what other people are doing once everyone started getting sick.
COOL C: Great. That’s all I need. Thanks for talking with me. I need to get out of this dorm. You said your name’s Dennis, right?
DENNIS: Yeah, you’re not going to put that on your website, though, right?
***END OF RECORDING***
The situation CU has put its students in jeopardy by allowing them back on campus while not cracking down on virus-spreaders is grim: students looking out for no one but themselves, simply trying to complete school tasks as they must, awaiting the end of the semester. The good news for these students is that these hardships are not permanent. If even some of our safe, regulation-abiding freshman students make it out the other side of this semester, work completed and classes passed, it is a victory for all of them.