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Social Distancing 101: Staying Safe as a Student

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A photo of the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus with the text, Social Distancing 101: Staying Safe as a Student.

With everything that is going on in the world, the term “social distancing”, is used now more than ever. Truthfully, before what is currently happening, I did not even know that social distancing was a term, let alone how crucial it would be to our wellbeing. So, what is social distancing? As defined by Johns Hopkins Medicine, social distancing is “deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness”. Now, more than ever, we must follow the guidelines imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even if we feel like it is inconvenient or “boring”. 

As students, we are rarely socially distant. From spending time with friends, learning in classrooms, grabbing lunch at dining halls, and much more, student life commonly revolves around social interaction. For many students, this change is a difficult and worrying one, leading many to question how they will have a normal school life while being socially distant. Yet, no matter how difficult, we all need to abide by these guidelines.

So, how can I be socially distant as a student? Here are four do’s and do not’s of social distancing to keep you and the rest of the world safe. 

DO NOT: Gather in Large Crowds

As students, many of us are used to being in large crowds. From hanging with friends, going to the mall, going to work, and even simply attending school, we are typically in rather sizable crowds in our normal daily lives. Now that we are fighting this virus, we cannot continue this behavior, no matter how much we want to. I miss my normal way of life so much. I miss my friends and attending college, but I know both of those things are not safe for anyone at the moment. As much as it hurts, social distancing is needed to combat this virus. Do not put others at risk because you want to hang out with your friends or leave your house when not needed. 

DO: Connect with Friends via Video Chat and Social Media

Social distancing does not mean emotionally distancing yourself from your friends and loved ones. In our highly technical world, there are many ways to communicate with people other than seeing them face to face. Now, more than ever, keeping in touch with your loved ones and checking in on their wellbeing is extremely important, especially for your mental health. Do not isolate yourself from your loved ones. Just simply text or call them when you miss them, instead of visiting them in person. 

DO NOT: Leave Your House Just Because You Are Bored

Much like everyone else, I have been incredibly bored at home. Just because I am bored does not mean that I should put others at risk for my fulfillment. There is plenty that you can do while being socially distant. From going on walks, cleaning your room and house, working out, watching Netflix, and much more, you can find a way to keep busy while not endangering others.

As students, many of us have shifted toward online learning. Regardless of what is going on, we are still students and should be devoting much of our time to learning, not going out and putting others at risk. I may be bored at home, but that does not justify me putting others in danger.

DO: Leave Your Home When Needed

Social distancing does not mean that you should isolate yourself within your home forever. If you find yourself running low on food, necessary home goods, medications, and other necessities, you are encouraged to go out and get them. These establishments are still open and considered essential for a reason; use them when needed. It is perfectly fine to go out to get what you need or order delivery to support local businesses, but try to find situations that allow you to minimize contact with other people during the transactions. Social distancing does not me you are trapped in your home, it means that you should be mindful and limit your public interactions as much as possible. 

Social distancing is not fun or easy, especially for students. Yet, that does not mean you should not do it for yourself and others. If we want to successfully conquer this virus, we must all work together, not slack off because you feel as though you will come out of this unharmed. 

Topic: 

Academics
Life at UMass

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