By River Gracey|
If you try going into any general store in the greater Augusta area this week, you will notice that all the hand sanitizer, Lysol sprays and, in many places, toilet paper have completely run out.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, the Augusta area and its students have started to feel the impact on their lives.
As of March 16, the University System of Georgia has chosen to suspend in-person instruction at all public institutions for the rest of the semester. In the wake of this, many students have grown concerned about this virus and its impact on their learning and the community in general.
Mary Long, a second-year pre-dental student, received warning from some of her professors prior to the suspension.
“Before Augusta university officially cancelled classes, I already had two of my professors tell us not to come to class until mid- April. I feel like this outbreak really showed us how much the media and false information can have a devastating effect on the community and how people behave,” said Long.
Long sees the suspension of instruction as a way to give the government time to better handle the pandemic.
“Since the virus started spreading, there has been a big over reaction and a lot of people are scared for the wrong reasons. I think the university is doing the right thing by cancelling classes, not because it will prevent spreading, but it does give the government a chance to figure out what truly needs to be done in order to prevent further infection,” Long stated.
Despite the stress of moving classes online, Autumn Asbill, freshman psychology student, has seen that more people are paying attention to public health.
“I feel like my education has been somewhat affected due to classes being moved online, but I don’t necessarily feel an immediate negative impact, as of now. Around campus, I have seen some students and faculty express a greater concern for public health and safety which is overall a good thing, but many students and, possibly, faculty have created a panic about this virus,” Asbill said.
According to Asbill, education on the virus is vital, especially for proper preparations.
“I have heard many false statements about the virus, and I think everyone could be more educated. AU has done a fantastic job of being forward and upfront in its information. I don’t know if I could say they are doing the right thing, but I do think they are doing what is best for the moment. It is better to do something now and say that wasn’t necessary, than not doing anything and having to say we should have done more. Overall, I understand it’s better for the entire student population, faculty and the surrounding community.”
Overall, there seems to be a general consensus among Augusta University students that there is a possible bit of an overreaction due to false information.
There is still a need to act so this issue is not treated as a small problem. Throughout all the pandemonium and panic over the virus, it is better for the university to be more safe than sorry in this global issue that has hit close to home.
Contact River Gracey at RGRACEY@augusta.edu