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(FILE) Cars drive down Court Street in Athens, Ohio, on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.

Students on and around campus express concerns about partygoers

Ohio University announced July 31 that classes at least through Sept. 27 will be online. Within the phased return, undergraduate and graduate students whose programs require in-person instruction will be allowed to come back, according to a previous Post report

Some students who are not included in Phase One are still on and around campus because of their signed housing leases. 

Emily Gayton, a senior studying journalism, lives off-campus. Gayton said uptown is busy depending on the day.  

“For example, I was on College Green…and it was popping,” Gayton said. “There are people with hammocks, and I guess the cool thing about it was everyone kind of brought their own blankets and chairs and stuff, so they weren't necessarily sitting on the public benches. Depending on what day of the week and what time, it can also be fairly empty because it's still a fraction of the people that are typically here.”

Gayton says that for the most part, people are wearing masks, especially in large stores, but there are people who are not wearing masks down Court Street. Gayton believes “there's some confusion about what exact public spaces you’re supposed to be wearing those (masks).”  

Hannah Pridemore, a senior studying strategic communication, agrees that the majority of students are wearing masks, but not necessarily limiting social gatherings. 

“A lot of students are wearing masks,” Pridemore said. “Even if they don't have them covering their faces, I'll see them walking down the street and if they think that they're going to pass someone, they'll pull their mask up.”

Pridemore worked for the campus markets and was told they are closed indefinitely. Luckily, she has a PACE job she can do remotely. 

“(The markets) were talking about scheduling all July, and then out of nowhere, they're like, well, the markets closed until further notice,“ Pridemore said. “So, no one has a job. And the thing is, I don't think that our student coordinators knew that this is going to happen either.”

She also said that Opening Weekend was less chaotic than years past, but people are still on Court Street and in the bars. 

In addition to social distancing regulations not being followed, Pridemore believes the regulations aren’t “really being enforced either.”

Gayton is concerned about students going to the bars. 

“…Is it worth it?” Gayton said. “Because there are a lot of repercussions to this pandemic that we don't necessarily know about yet. So, is that party worth it? Is that hook-up worth it? …How are you not more concerned about other people’s well-being.”

Pridemore agrees about the bar scene. 

“There are significantly better things to do than get drunk on your porch with your friends in the middle of a pandemic,” she said.

Autumn Murphy, a senior studying history, is immunocompromised and feels that students partying are slapping immunocompromised people in the face.

The bar scene is the only thing that’s been affected by Phase One, as can be seen by this popular Twitter image of the bars packed on Court Street.

 Olivia Gemarro, a senior studying English creative writing and sociology-criminology pre-law, echoes Pridemore and Gayton’s frustration with students going out. 

“Stay home honestly,” Gemarro said. “I promise you nothing you can do at a bar on a typical weekend night in Athens…is worth risking people’s lives, people’s safety….Really, this is much bigger than all of us.”


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