This is the third semester that we are starting with an editorial focused on COVID-19.
It is now weird to think about a time where we are not wearing masks or worried about sharing food with a stranger. And we are tired of it all. Unfortunately, this is not an editorial celebrating the ending of the pandemic and the return to “normal” life. Although we might be back in class and having the library party again, we cannot let the illusion of normality cloud our judgement. COVID-19 is still here breathing down our necks.
Brandeis had a successful summer, hitting 10 consecutive weeks of not a single case reported on campus. Despite this success, now that everyone is back on campus, we need to remember that we are one community, and the choices we make for ourselves impact dozens if not hundreds of people. This is not the time to attack members of our community for their choices, but work together as one body with a collective goal: to have a safe and “normal” semester. Have fun, but be responsible. There are people on this campus that we need to protect.
Although current COVID-19 policies may seem excessively strict, they are there to protect all members of our community, and to allow us a taste of that normalcy we all crave so much. Yes, we can have some in-person classes and be maskless outdoors, but this is at the cost of mandatory vaccination and frequent testing. Remember that there are some people in our community, either through medical or religious exemption, who are unable to be vaccinated. These individuals depend on us to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and this is why it is important for everyone to do their due diligence. We also want to give a friendly reminder that being vaccinated against COVID-19, no matter which vaccination you received, does not make you immune from the virus. It is still important to wear masks while closely interacting with others. Brandeis is slowly returning to normal this year. Many COVID policies are being lessened or removed, but that does not mean we should act like the pandemic isn’t a very real part of life.
Outside of COVID, we hope to have a good school year, especially in regards to the Student Union and administration. We hope the Student Union continues helping students most in need and supporting university initiatives. The Hoot covers Senate meetings every week, so we know the amount of impact a strong Student Union can have on campus. Additionally, we hope for a year of minimal administration issues. We welcome the new staff that Brandeis has recently hired. We hope your experience here is positive—for both staff and students alike.
The Hoot is, as we’re sure most students are, excited to move forward with “a new normal.” The Boston shuttle is back, classes are in person and first-years have roommates again. Let’s all do our part to ensure that this year is the best one yet!