There is no question that the current COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically shifting life for everyone around the world. Schools are closing down, millions of people are being laid off and many counties, cities and even countries are implementing mandatory lockdowns for their residents. While these times are uncertain and stressful for many, it seems that some are unwilling to acknowledge the severity of our current situation on both a local and global level. While Truman State University’s move to online courses and its cancelation of all in-person, on-campus activities for the rest of the semester is upsetting, the gravity of this pandemic is much more far reaching.
We, The Index Editorial Board, understand and empathize with those who are upset that their semester isn’t ending the way they wanted, but this issue is much bigger than any one person. For those set to graduate this semester, it’s beyond disappointing to not be able to say goodbye in person to fellow friends and inspiring professors. To those who live on campus and are now unable to return to their rooms for an additional month, it’s understandable to be frustrated. Everyone is allowed to be upset given this confusing, frightening and ever-changing set of circumstances both Truman’s campus and the rest of the world are being forced to deal with, but we fear many are ignoring the bigger issue at hand.
This pandemic is killing people, both young and old, without discrimination. While those with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible, those who are at the peak of health are still at risk. It presents asymptomatic for some individuals, making its hosts unaware and resulting in more people catching the virus, especially if these individuals don’t follow mandated stay-at-home orders or self-quarantine after travel. Hospitals and their staff are struggling to keep up with the influx of new patients presenting symptoms (along with having adequate and necessary supplies such as masks and ventilators), and testing is not only limited but difficult to receive. We are in the middle of a situation our generation and generations past have never seen before. While some individuals have stayed home when possible, others have chosen to hoard copious amounts of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Some are refusing to listen to government orders to stay at home, and self distancing requests appear to have fallen on deaf ears. It seems self-interest has taken precedence over empathy and doing not only what’s best, but what’s necessary for the common good.
We, The Index Editorial Board, are sympathetic to people who are going home to places that don’t feel like home. While Truman is continuing to offer University Counseling Services via Zoom Video Communications, some students aren’t going back to households that are supportive of their mental health. People are being laid off and left homeless as a result of this pandemic, including some Truman students who worked for on-campus departments that are no longer in need of their services. We also understand the strife and sacrifice individuals working for healthcare organizations are currently facing. These individuals are being asked to put not only their health but their family’s health at risk in order to care for those who have this virus. Many are having to choose to live in separate residences so as not to put their children and other loved ones at risk.
Being forced to cut your spring break short seems incomparable to not being able to feed your own family or keep a roof over your head because you lost your job in the food industry, or not being able to see your own mother for the next however many months because her career as a nurse means she is needed now more than ever. Be upset over your circumstances, yes, but don’t forget those who are truly suffering and sacrificing during these uncertain times. This is a time when we need to focus on the greater good rather than our own personal feelings, no matter how difficult it might be. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t support those you love, those within your community and local businesses from afar. Call, video chat, follow state and government requests, donate when you can and don’t forget that we’re all in this together.