Hey, students: stop partying

partying
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At a school like Queen’s, it’s no secret students love to party. A pandemic isn’t going to change that, but students should think twice about throwing ragers this year if they hope to avoid an outbreak in Kingston.

As we near the start of remote classes, Queen’s will see thousands of students from across Canada and internationally returning to Kingston, raising fears of a potential outbreak. The Kingston Police recently released a statement asking residents, especially young adults, to avoid “unauthorized indoor and outdoor social gatherings.”

 Last week, the University strongly encouraged students to get tested for COVID-19 before coming to Kingston, and asked they keep their interactions to a minimum for the next two weeks. Students living in residence will follow a household model to limit contact with others.

 Having policies in place to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus is a good start, but enforcing that policy comes with its own challenges the University appears ill-equipped for.

 Dons will be monitoring residences, but they can’t be expected to constantly check up on their students, especially without hazard pay. At the end of the day, people will inevitably break the rules, though it’s unclear what consequences these students will face.

 The University needs stronger messaging condemning parties in residence, including clear consequences if students fail to comply with physical distancing policies. Queen’s can’t stop people from breaking rules, but they can do more than rely on students to do what they’re supposed to.

 Contact tracing, taking students’ temperatures, and suspending those who break protocols are all ways the University could show it’s serious about protecting students from COVID-19, yet it's failed to implement any of these things.

 Queen’s also announced it would place a COVID testing center on campus later this fall. The issue is students need an accessible testing center now, in the weeks after their arrival—not later. If the University wants students to get tested, having the center already up and running would’ve achieved this.

 Queen’s inadequacies aside, at a certain point students themselves need to take the University’s recommendations to heart—upper years included.

 Upper year students set a precedent for Queen’s culture. If first years see their peers flouting physical distancing guidelines, they’ll inevitably follow, engaging in reckless behavior.

 The pandemic sucks, but this isn’t the time to be selfish. A student-caused outbreak, whether in residence or in off-campus housing, will not only affect other students, but the already strained relationship between Queen’s students and Kingston locals.

 Incoming students: let’s hold off on the ragers this term. Your health—and that of the Kingston community—will thank you for it.

—Journal Editorial Board

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