Opinion: Partying during a pandemic isn’t the answer

By this point, it should be common sense to understand basic COVID-19 regulations and quarantine rules when people across the nation are staying at home and practicing social distancing, but many high school and college students alike have taken an irresponsible approach to deal with the pandemic by hosting mask-less parties.

Throwing parties without regard for the risks of spreading the virus or of health guidelines is inconsiderate to other members of the community. Plenty of young people have been hit hard by the pandemic, and plenty of us recognize how much it can impact not only students’ lives but also the livelihoods of their parents and teachers.

As schools begin to reopen, it’s necessary to understand the effects parties can have on hybrid instruction.

Recently, a student and their parents faced charges after hosting a party of at least 50 high school students, causing delays to a Massachusetts high school’s reopening. With colleges implementing policies for students to report large gatherings on campus, students at Cornell University created a petition in light of these events. These reckless parties are shown to have real consequences, including a rise in student COVID-19 cases.

With an airborne virus such as COVID-19, the transmission is likely within small classrooms. Increased interaction and movement between classrooms during in-person instruction shows how quickly the virus could spread and ultimately jeopardize schools reopening.

Students or teachers who come into contact with a party-goer could potentially spread the virus to their families, homes or workplaces. A single case from a large party has a drastic impact on a community, spreading the virus to more vulnerable populations.

California has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, with nearly 60,000 cases in Orange County alone. And although Orange County was removed from the California COVID-19 watchlist and a handful of school districts have reopened or plan to reopen in the coming weeks, this doesn’t mean a return to normal is immediate.

A common mentality that many party-goers have is “if they can do it, why can’t I?”

When one group of students hosts a large party, there’s a ripple effect that inspires other students to do the same and holds the threat of potential transmission among students.

As rapidly as the coronavirus has surged in this country within the span of seven months, a few large parties will be the latest in a series of avoidable mistakes that will endanger people’s lives. These large pandemic parties undeniably do more harm than good.

Students across the nation have missed out on their school and college experiences since spring. We all want to return to school again, but we can’t let our frustrations culminate in throwing a party. Throwing makeshift dances and parties doesn’t distract from the fact that we’re still in a pandemic, or from the fact that the virus still exists and is capable of killing on average over 900 people a day.

It’s not that hard to do your part and not throw mask-less parties. If we want to guarantee a “back-to-normal” return to our lives and for our communities, it’s imperative that we all do our part to take care of ourselves and lessen the effects of COVID-19 on our communities.

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