Staff Editorial: Choosing to keep our community COVID safe

Contrary to popular belief, rules are not meant to be broken. 

The rules on and around campus regarding COVID-19, which are now the most lenient they have been since early March of 2020, were recently restricted for one week beginning Sept. 29. The President’s Cabinet and the Health and Safety Task Force reported that 26 community members had tested positive, including a cluster of 18. To make a long story short, rules were broken.    

While we are lucky that our campus was only on a temporary hold for one week, we will return to Phase Two (and perhaps even Phase One) if we keep practicing unsafe habits. Sports teams have reportedly continued to practice without masks, some classes continued to meet in person during the outbreak and Guilford returned to Phase 4 despite having 15 positive cases over a three-day testing period. 

Guilford College is an institution of learning. At times, this is a place where it is OK to make mistakes. However, it is important to learn from those mistakes—and some of these mistakes can prove fatal. According to Statista, over 4,200 people in the United States have died from COVID before their 30th birthday. Even for those of us in the community that may be skeptical of the dangers of COVID-19, face masks are still effective against some other notable viruses and diseases. After all, flu season is right around the corner. 

With the deadline to the vaccine mandate being today (Oct. 15), the Guilford community is at a crossroads. We can be a Guilford reminiscent of the past few semesters: more lockdowns, more Zoom meetings and more social distancing. Or we can be a Guilford that wears face masks with the mindset of keeping everyone we care about safe and healthy. As a community, we can decide how we want Guilford College to be, so let’s make safe and smart decisions.