News | March 24th, 2022
Spring Breakers May Spike COVID-19 Numbers
By: Zion Lampley
Leaving their homes and cities to let out steam, destinations across the globe saw a surge in college students. Thousands of spring breakers continue to gather in large groups with slight social distancing, and few mask insight with hopes of normalizing conditions before the plight of COVID-19.
With minds set on vacation, college students enjoy their spring break while health officials are looking ahead and continue to concern the population about the risk of contracting the coronavirus. This alone could lead to potential changes in any universities’ protocol when it comes to COVID-19, even though institutions have notably eased rules and regulations related to the coronavirus.
An uptick in spring break travel has health officials concerned that the return of college spring breakers could lead to another COVID-19 surge across the United States that will eventually reach college campuses.
“I’ve caught COVID twice. I was scared. My grandma had it. We were all doing terrible and I was pretty scared,” said Kaela Jackson, a first year cyber criminology student at Florida State University. Spring breakers travel without being mindful of the risks associated with highly congested areas. As crowds flock to popular vacation areas, health officials and concerned citizens watch statistics as crowds facilitate the spread of COVID.
Compared to previous pandemic spring breaks, colleges have the luxury of innovative tools that assess the risk of catching the coronavirus. Many colleges, like Florida A&M University, are still urging students to get vaccinated.
“Vaccination and COVID testing depend on the individual. The pandemic is not over; college students should continue to get vaccinated and boosted,” said Tanya Tatum, the FAMU Student Health Services Director.
Students are weighing in on their worries about how college students should navigate spring break. “COVID is not over. We should continue wearing masks and continue following COVID protocols until this pandemic is over or at least tamed, but I’ll continue traveling and interacting safely,” said Derrick Jones Sr, a fourth year criminal justice student at Florida A&M University.
Sobering announcements from health officials are no longer a concern for spring-breakers as beaches and enchanting tropical islands are hot spots.
“There may be another COVID surge when students return to campus. Students often find themselves in situations where they’d pick enjoyment over their health, which will reflect in positive cases when students return to school if they didn’t follow COVID protocols,” said Tatum.
College students have become the new sources of outbreaks and have hinged the idea of “you only live once.”
“Symptoms have seemingly been not as harmful as before, but it is important to understand that just because you feel like you don’t have COVID, you should get tested, listen to health officials and remain safe. Everyone is fighting the same battle,” said Jones Sr. As cities look to cease public health restrictions, there has been a slight decrease in positive diagnoses and death from Americans in regards to COVID.
With questionable outcomes to COVID cases, spring breakers should keep in mind to follow safety guidelines to ensure that they remain safe during spring break. “Continue sanitizing, continue washing your hands, continue wearing your mask. This virus is no joke, especially when you’ve been affected or know someone who has had the virus,” said Jackson.