Miranda Prescott, Correspondent
Throughout the United States, many colleges and universities are either conducting classes online or closing their doors temporarily or permanently for the rest of the academic year. All of these changes or closures have been made to combat the spread of COVID-19, otherwise known as the novel coronavirus.
The idea is that by limiting who is on campus through a process called “social distancing”, the chances of the virus being spread will be limited as well. With this process, the Center for Disease Control has recommended limiting time spent in large groups, dining-in at restaurants and other events that may cause the gathering of a multitude of people.
However, these limitations and changes come during a time where many students and parents are traveling to locations that draw in large crowds during this time. For many school-aged people, spring break will soon commence or has already started. This break typically indicates traveling from home, often out of state, for a break from work or school life.
Some colleges have decided to extend their spring break as a way of keeping college students off campus during this time. Most recently, Jacksonville State University extended their spring break by two days as well.
The question that remains is: are college students listening to these new guidelines? Are students’ spring break plans changing based on what they have been told about the outbreak? Or are they keeping everything in their life the same, despite the multitude of warnings they have received?
The Chanticleer conducted a small survey among all college students — not only JSU students — wherein there were 58 respondents.
60 percent of respondents reported that their plans were disrupted by COVID-19. However, 53 percent of respondents also reported to still have plans to travel during their spring break from their respective university.
The survey also asked what may have caused the plans of college students to be disrupted. According to the survey results, 57 percent of the respondents said that the regulations placed by their university is what caused their plans for their break to be disrupted. As for how students feel about the regulations that their universities have put in place, 74 percent believe that their university is handling the situation well. However, some students from other universities are criticizing their housing options during this time.
“Students shouldn’t be forced to leave their on-campus housing to go out of state or to places affected,” said an anonymous respondent to the survey.
Out of the respondents, 40 percent believe that the mass media is responsible for their plans being disrupted during the outbreak of the virus. Although only 40 percent reported this belief, 95 percent of respondents believe that the media has heavily influenced how travel has been affected during this time.
34 percent of respondents also reported that the national regulations that have been put into place have disrupted their plans. However, 53 percent of survey takers believe that the national government is not handling the issue at hand well.
“The way this administration [Trump administration] handles a pandemic needs to be closely monitored, due to the amount of lives that are at stake,” according to an article written by Dr. Stephanie Sarkis for Forbes. “Appointing a person who puts religious values ahead of public health as the head of a pandemic task force may be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.”
On local levels, 53 percent reported that their state is handling the outbreak well and 57 percent reported the same findings for their local governments. However, only 30 percent of those surveyed said that the state regulations disrupted their plans and 19 percent reported this for their local government.
Personal beliefs counted for 34 percent of disruptions from survey respondents, while 4 people who took the survey reported other reasons for their plans being changed.