Kelsee Brady, Campus Carrier opinions editor
I returned to Berry’s campus in May to work over the summer, and communication has been lacking, to say the least. It was noticeable even then, but at least in May, Berry was still figuring out how to operate campus and manage the spread of COVID- 19. There was a reason, an excuse. Whenever we decided to bring the student body back for the fall semester, there should have been a shift. I expected faster communication and more information, and all I have gotten is fewer emails.
I also expected more from the student body. I have not been perfect either, but why are we having parties on the weekend? Did we forget that a pandemic is happening? Did we forget just how quickly all of this was taken away from us in March? I have not.
I have taken every opportunity to stay on campus since May. Yes, I miss my family and home, but I have not forgotten that I had no choice but to be at home for three months, and for some of you, it was longer. I love my family, but I also love Berry. I didn’t realize how much until I couldn’t be here. Until it was all taken away without any warning.
We have to communicate in all directions. Administration needs to communicate with us, we need to communicate with them, and we need to communicate with each other, holding each other accountable in these precarious times. The fact that a pandemic is occurring does not change how vital communication is. If anything, this pandemic only emphasizes the necessity of it.
Overall, communication is not greatly utilized at the moment. This makes sense in some ways. Information changes rapidly and an email can become outdated in a mere 10 minutes. This constant flux of accuracy makes communicating every piece of information difficult. Add in the fact that for administration, these informative emails must go through specific channels and be approved before the click of the send button, and the difficulty multiplies.
Despite all of this, the Berry administration and student body need to do better. If we want to remain on campus and operational with in-person classes, we have to improve communication. Just these past few weeks, the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases on campus has rapidly increased. During all of this, administration has told us that we would be retested for COVID-19. We were told to look for an email that then told us to look for another email and so on. I am tired of the run around.
Running a college campus cannot be easy, and communicating to said campus also is not simple, but I would appreciate some transparency. Even acknowledging that they may not have the right answers to our questions or that they are still working on it would suffice.
But, the administration is not the only party at fault. We as students have a responsibility to communicate with administration. This takes place in many ways from the daily symptom tracker and the screening at the Welcome Center to the travel and visitor forms. The Berry administration has placed their trust and respect in us and in return, we must be honest and do our best to prevent more COVID-19 cases. This means that you should report any exposure or symptoms, be honest about why you are leaving campus and don’t bring non-Berry guests into your dorms. We also should not be having parties on the weekends or hanging out in large groups without proper social distancing and mask-wearing. I didn’t think I needed to say that, but the evidence says otherwise.
No one ever said that a pandemic would be fun, and Berry administration never promised that this semester would be the same as any other. We need to remember that, and commit to being healthy whether that comes through social distancing, being honest or staying on campus during the weekends.
We all have work to do. Administration must consider the best way to communicate quickly and effectively with campus, and reevaluate their current methods of communication. Students, we need to consider how important we value our time on campus and understand that just because we are over this pandemic does not mean that the pandemic is over.