​​​​​​Calls on UMass to crack down on students flouting COVID rules

Published: 10/7/2020 4:30:29 PM It’s not rocket science. The virus spreads through the air. Face masks and social distancing protec...

Published: 10/7/2020 4:30:29 PM

It’s not rocket science. The virus spreads through the air. Face masks and social distancing protect us from the virus. So, I read with alarm, but with no surprise, the headline in [Tuesday’s] Gazette. It announced the steady rise in UMass COVID cases, and the report of large parties where attendees were not wearing masks nor keeping six feet apart.

Many of us who live in the area were alarmed when the university planned to have students return to the campus for in person classes. Young people feel invulnerable, and they often do what they want despite the danger. As someone who is 81 years old, I felt like a sitting duck. Although I was relieved when the university reversed its decision, I was still concerned that the agreement between the university and students carried no sanctions for those who don’t adhere to the rules. Without sanctions, some students would have parties, drink a lot and would neither wear masks nor maintain social distance. This isn’t rocket science.

The parties that started when the students arrived have not stopped, and the cases are rising. The only sanction for these students is that the town of Amherst fines them for noise. Our lives are at stake, and the university is not doing nearly enough. The administration has the power to impose real sanctions — probation, suspension, and even expulsion.

I am outraged that Chancellor Subbaswamy talks only of educating students about the virus and the proper protocols, rather than sanctioning them. How long will this education take? It has not shown to be effective yet as every weekend there are reports of parties. Students will only follow the rules when they face suspension or worse. Again, not rocket science.

Arlene Avakian


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Newsrust: ​​​​​​Calls on UMass to crack down on students flouting COVID rules
​​​​​​Calls on UMass to crack down on students flouting COVID rules
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