Just like stop signs, COVID rules save lives

These+student+desks+are+too+close+together.+If+you%E2%80%99re+not+staying+3+feet+apart+then+you+should+be+staying+more+than+3+feet+apart.+Photo+illustration+by+Desi+Garcia.+

These student desks are too close together. If you’re not staying 3 feet apart then you should be staying more than 3 feet apart. Photo illustration by Desi Garcia.

Alejandra Rodriguez, Managing Editor

It’s been less than a week since Cohorts A and B were combined into a lone Mega-cohort that sees students attend school in person four days a week instead of two, but—and I hate to get emotional about it—it’s been terrifying to watch.
Masks pulled below noses. Hugs in the quad. Students huddled together in classrooms.
It’s obvious that some students see the Mega-cohort as an invitation to disregard COVID safety measures. However, school’s not like before. No matter how tired you are of hearing about it, COVID hasn’t ended. Everybody’s tired of masks and social distancing and worrying, but we need to keep it together and stay vigilant just a little longer.
A student in one of my classes said Monday that the arrows painted around the school were suggestions not rules, likening the arrows to stop signs.
I was horrified.
I’d like to think that there are more reasons to obey traffic laws than to avoid police intervention and, by extension, higher insurance premiums. I’d like to think some people obey traffic laws so they don’t kill people and, by extension, people don’t kill them.
This is the reality we’re dealing with now. Those stop signs—and those arrows painted around the school—aren’t there to stop you from doing what you want to do. They’re there to stop everyone else from doing what they want to do.
I get it. It’s annoying to walk all around the school just to go to the class next door, but that’s the greater good here. There’s a month left of school, and in that month by following the painted arrows, you’re potentially saving hundreds of lives including your own. You’re the hero now, and all it takes is hitting your steps for the day a couple of hours early.
“But I’m vaccinated,” you say. “Why should I have to be a hero?” Why would you not want to? Are you a virologist? If you’ve got the data on the seven or so COVID strains and precisely know how each interacts with each different vaccine, I’m positive that there are some very serious scientists who’d like to talk to you. Be safe first. Don’t complain that no one around you has gotten sick; that means the safety “suggestions” are working.

To be safe, follow the designated arrows.

Let me also say that teachers have a responsibility here, too. It’s tough for them to watch students both on Zoom and in their rooms. In one of my classes, a teacher had the students work on an assignment, and two students pushed their red rolling chairs together as close as they could because the teacher was distracted by the Zoom students. Teachers, I know it’s difficult, but classroom safety must come first. Everything comes out of that.

Also, students, you should help your teachers. We students know that one teacher can’t see everything, so that means another student may tell you to pull up your mask or back up a few feet. Don’t argue. It’s school. Both you and your fellow students who are telling you to do something you don’t want to do are alive to go to school because of rules. Don’t abandon them now. Reckless behavior is a major reason that this plague has killed hundreds of thousands, and ignoring social distancing and not wearing masks helped create Orange County’s virus spikes.
I can say all this, and you can ignore me just like you might ignore a stop sign. However, the next time you’re going through an intersection—in a car filled with people you care about—imagine if another driver who has stopped at another stop sign instead blew right through it, hit your car, and killed just one person you love.
Would you still see stop signs as suggestions then?