NDSU is not doing enough to protect its students
Since the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, student health regarding COVID-19 has clearly never been a priority to NDSU. Although there have been modifications to the way campus functions, including Hyflex learning, dining changes, mask requirements and limited capacities, these are baseline adjustments to give the appearance that NDSU cares about their students.
North Dakota had relatively low numbers of COVID cases over the summer, which led to minor restrictions. As students have returned to NDSU, cases within Cass County only continue to rise. Cass County has moved from the Yellow to the Orange hazard level under North Dakota Smart Restart Guidelines.
This originally authorized a maximum gathering occupancy of 10 people, which the Governor has changed to a new maximum of 50 people. The only thing this leads me to believe is that Governor Burgum made these adjustments in order to keep schools and businesses open in order to sustain the economy.
Prioritizing the economy over citizen’s health has been a familiar territory since the pandemic began. NDSU is obviously familiar with this ideology as they have continually encouraged students to return to campus. At the same time, NDSU is charging students the same tuition rate even though a majority of our education is through Zoom.
President Dean Bresciani has boasted multiple times that he has no plans of shutting down the school and sending students home. What first appeared as an act of resilience is quickly revealing itself to be a money grab. No one will be sent home until there are no possibilities for tuition or housing refunds. At this point, a faculty member or student will have to die, along with enough public outrage, before NDSU considers a shutdown.
As an immunocompromised student living on campus, I do not feel safe. Students within my building do not follow mask requirements, dining centers are still congested with students and most people aren’t socially distancing. Not to mention that North Weible is being used as an isolation ward, even though South Weible (attached to North Weible) is still in use for resident housing.
None of these factors seem to matter to healthy students who can get the virus but have less intense symptoms. But for people like me, COVID-19 can be life-threatening with long-term damages to the body. I’m terrified of leaving my room and risking exposure. As a result of this, I personally made the decision to stay home after Thanksgiving until the Spring semester, knowing I will not receive any refund on my housing.
Many schools across the country have taken a similar approach, not allowing students to return after Thanksgiving. I encourage NDSU to do the same. Having every student return to their hometown, to possible large gatherings, only to reconverge on a campus in the state with the highest rate of COVID cases per capita seems incredibly dangerous.
It has become clear to me that NDSU doesn’t care about the health and well-being of their students, they wish only to remain open for monetary gain. I’m disappointed in NDSU and President Bresciani for their poor response to COVID-19, not taking a virus without a vaccine more seriously. We aren’t resilient. We’re only being taken advantage of.