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It’s on all of us

| Monday, August 17, 2020

A lot of my friends have been asking me how I feel coming back to campus; I am in the high-risk category for coronavirus.

Personally, I am thrilled about being back on campus. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed my friends, the engaging classes and professors, and simply being able to walk around the beautiful grounds and see Mary overlooking us all on top of the unparalleled golden dome. I would have felt cheated, in a way, if the administration required online learning for another semester. I am sure my mental health and my educational experience would suffer if we couldn’t have come back.

I think Notre Dame is taking significant safety precautions that are adequate, including requiring masks at all times in public.  I am okay with the fact that I will have to be more vigilant than others.

I’m not worried about myself; plus, I firmly believe that God will take care of me. At the same time, I pray that you all know you need to do your part as well. I have confidence that you are smart and know that coronavirus is a serious matter. But at the end of the day, we are human. I think that it will be easy for many of you to become nonchalant about wearing masks and reasonable social distancing practices; you will tire of it, and many of you know that you are at very low risk. I have already seen how simple it is for many of you to forget how important it is to wear a mask and socially distance.

The University cannot police off-campus parties or absolutely everything that occurs among students. When you decide that pulling together hundreds of people in one small backyard constitutes fun, I hope you understand that the next day, you will put others at risk. Sitting less than six feet apart while eating or studying on the quads isn’t safe. The University can’t track you as you get bored of campus and travel to Chicago for the weekend, where you encounter thousands of other surfaces and people that could very well have been exposed to coronavirus. When you return to class and to campus on Monday, I could be the student sitting next to you in class or sharing space with you in the dorm. And wearing masks is not a guarantee that coronavirus won’t be transmitted.

Making the choice to attend huge parties, be close to each other without masks or travel without telling the University? That’s on you. But I hope you remember that it’s on me, too.

Sarah Betts


Aug. 11

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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