Dear Millard North

Students need to remain socially responsible admidst the pandemic

If you had the option to do something, but the risk of a negative result is 72%, is it logical for you to partake in this activity? Almost certainly not. That statistic means that nearly three times out of four, you will be met with a negative consequence. 

According to the Georgia Tech risk calculator, a 15 person gathering in Douglas County comes with a 72% chance that someone at the function will have an active COVID-19 case. 

So birthday parties, friendsgivings, holiday get-togethers, are all met with a high risk of COVID-19, and little to no reward. But why are these activities rising in popularity, given the sobering statistics?

To put it bluntly, people are selfish. Too concerned with one’s own social life that they are able ignore people on the frontlines of this pandemic sacrificing everything for our safety. And we can’t even stop going to parties for long enough to thank them.

Healthcare workers didn’t get to press pause on the pandemic for a party. They don’t get to press pause for long enough to see their families. What makes you think that you’re better than them, that you deserve to have fun while people are sacrificing their lives for you to stay safe?

In school, students learn with masks on. At school sporting events , masks are enforced. This is the district’s best attempt to reduce virus spread while maintaining a sense of normalcy. 

It is up to you, the class of 2021,  to reduce virus spread off of school grounds. And that self-responsibility is lacking.

Being young doesn’t make you immune from the virus that has killed over 271,000 people in the United States. 

According to the CDC, children and teenagers are some of the most dangerous vectors for spreading COVID-19 because they are frequently asymptomatic and live life normally without proper quarantining. 

Actions have consequences. And at a certain point, Class of 2021, someone needs to recognize that the way that COVID-19 cases are trending, there will be no prom. There will be no graduation. And a large reason as to why is because people have given up on social distancing. 

We are all lonely. We miss our friends, we miss our families, we miss normalcy. But it simply isn’t fair for some people to be able to pretend that life is normal when others are overcompensating to keep everyone safe. 

Being confined to one’s home is difficult. No one is saying it isn’t. Isolation takes a toll on mental health. Being away from friends and extended family hurts, but so would losing them and only being able to say goodbye over a screen.

So, FaceTime your cousins. Watch a movie over Zoom with your friends. Just stay home.

No one could have planned for a senior year like this one. No one could have predicted the amounts of heartbreak and loss that come with such large restrictions. However, everyone can help prevent this from spreading into next year. 

So keep your distance. Do it for your immuno-compromised classmates. Do it for your high-risk grandparents. And if nothing else, do it for the slim chance of having a prom or a graduation party.

Hopefully, the parties were fun while they lasted. Because there won’t be any more of them the way that numbers are trending.