As Labor Day weekend approaches, we believe that it is important to remind the community of the pledge we made when we signed The CARITAS Commitment. We promised to put our community first. Not only did we make this promise, we assured the school that we would modify our behaviors and limit travel. All students signed a practically binding contract with the school that we would only travel for essential reasons in order to limit unnecessary exposures. We even promised that we would find new ways to connect with others — safe ways that would allow for social distancing.
With this weekend being our first, and only, long weekend of this semester, it is understandable that students want to go home to visit family, go down to the shore or take any number of other off-campus trips this weekend.
While this may be tempting, we must acknowledge that it is our duty to protect one another and the staff and faculty who make the University the place we know and love.
Many of us have already watched friends and acquantiences get sent home because they were not following guidelines provided to us by the University. Many of us even have friends who have had or are battling COVID-19.
While it is easy for the administration to regulate, and punish, what goes on on-campus, it has a much harder time controlling what happens off campus. That responsiblity is on all of us; we have a duty to ask our friends to cancel their plans and stay on campus for this long weekend.
We aren’t asking you to not have any fun and to not enjoy the three-day weekend, but we are asking you to be smart about how you do it. We owe it to ourselves and our community to hold one another accountable this semester if we want it to last.
We have already witnessed other schools, including ones in the Philadelphia area, get sent home or go fully online. Villanova is one of the few schools in the area to still attempt an in-person semester, and we should keep this in mind. The administration has faith that we can be smart, be respectful and make this work. It is on us to prove America wrong right now.
This pandemic is not a joke, and schools are not treating it as such; just because we are doing (relatively) well so far does not mean that we are suddenly in the clear and have the license to act as though everything is normal.
Everyone who can stay on campus this weekend should absolutely do so. It may feel like a good weekend to party, but with school-wide testing likely coming after Labor Day, this will be the make-or-break weekend. Have fun, but please, stay here and stay responsible.