With the United States now the country with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases according to a “New York Times” article, practicing social distancing is important now more than ever before. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Although necessary, Valparaiso University’s choice to move schooling online has only heightened people’s levels of isolation. Both professors and students are struggling to adjust to online classes.
In response, professors are trying to find some normalcy while also balancing student interaction with individual work.
“I try as much as possible in my classes to keep up a regular routine because I think that’s very important in our current situation . . . There’s a lot of uncertainty, so if you maintain routines then that helps build some certainty back into your life, some predictability, psychology professor Jim Nelson said. “I think that’s quite important for people.”
According to sophomore Meg Bell, it’s been a challenge for herself and many others to leave campus and be away from friends.
“I’ve been sadder, I can’t spend time with my friends and I love being on campus and seeing everybody and I think that’s the same with everyone else too,” Bell said.
A lot of people don’t realize how important their friends and campus really was to them, according to Bell..
“We all complain about classes, but the truth of the matter is we all want to be there on campus and be with each other . . . The people we really want to see are the people we can’t at the moment.”
Despite some people feeling lonely and isolated when practicing social distancing, senior Emily Neuharth believes the negatives are worth it.
“I think in a time where there are a lot of unknowns and a lot of things outside of our control, something that is in our control is social distancing. Even though I’ve hated it a lot at times, I know that I would rather be over precautious than potentially transferring something that could be harmful to those around me,” Neuharth said. “Even if I could do some things to just slow down the spread a little bit, I know that would make a huge difference.”
Thanks to the internet and cell phones, people can communicate on a small group and individual basis, which means friends can stay in contact pretty well, despite the conversation not being face-to-face. Larger scale interaction like trying to remain a part of the community is a much more difficult endeavor.
However, Neuharth believes that social distancing is a way to not only protect the community, but also take part in a group effort.
“I think practicing social distancing is ironically a way to remain a part of the community,” Neuharth said.
English professor Richard Sévére agrees that the best way to interact with the community is to join it by coming together and practicing social distancing to ensure the collective health of everyone, but especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Instead of going out and putting others at risk, Sévére suggests taking the time to learn from the crisis.
“This is a really good time to get to know yourself as an individual and maybe that might involve getting to know more about others as well,”Sévére said. “But I think we learn a lot about ourselves in moments of crisis and discomfort; this is a time to love on one another and love on yourself and reflect.”