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Students express concerns over lack of respect for social distancing guidelines

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Students are cramming elevators disregarding Belmont’s health and safety protocols for COVID-19 — making others feel unsafe and uncomfortable.

“When I’m on an elevator that’s already at max capacity and we reach a new floor, people don’t even ask if it’s OK for them to get on, they just get on,” said student Emily Gartz.

The guidelines were introduced to limit COVID-19’s spread.To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly encourages people to practice social distancing and to remain 6-feet apart from one another and wear masks — a protocol Belmont requires of its students.

“Please observe instructions to prevent overcrowding in elevator bays and elevators. Taking the stairs is a great alternative,” said the Office of Communications in an email, informing students of the elevator and stairwell guidelines.

“The smaller elevators can accommodate four people maximum, one in each corner and the larger elevators can accommodate six people maximum, one in each corner and one person on each side along the walls in the middle,” said Belmont’s Director of Risk Management April Khoury, in an email.

Khoury introduced the strict elevator and stairwell guidelines to limit the exposure of COVID-19 and encourage social distancing on campus.

Student AJ Jordan believes these guidelines were arbitrarily created by administration to make others feel better.

“Students are aware that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and social distancing is expected. It’s self-explanatory not to pack the elevators full of people during the times we’re in,” Jordan said.

But while the rules are explicit and posted in the elevators, students still pile on.

Jordan is aware of the maximum capacity guidelines for the elevators, but she still chooses to get on it sometimes even if it’s full.

“If there’s three or four people on the elevator and some room to distance myself, I’ll get on. If there isn’t, I wait for another elevator or decide to take the stairs,” said Jordan.

The carelessness for others’ health and safety has become a concern to Gartz.

“Being in confined spaces like that, while even wearing a mask doesn’t fully protect you,” said Gartz.

Belmont required all students to sign the “Staying Healthy Together” pledge to keep everyone accountable to their commitment of following the rules and guidelines on campus.

“Summer of 2020, there were several different task forces on campus trying to determine how we were going to safely reopen … and I can only tell you how much time, effort and plan As, Bs, Cs, Ds and Es, were put together to try and do this as safely as possible,” said the Manager of Film and Recording Studios Dave Warburton.

Only minor tweaks were made to the safety guidelines this semester, because it worked well enough last semester; in other words, they didn’t want to mess anything up, he said.

“Even though everyone’s been doing this for a semester now and it seems we’re getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel, doesn’t mean it’s time to relax,” Warburton said.

“It’s now more important than ever to follow all this stuff to keep yourself, keep your friends and keep everybody on campus as safe as we can,” he said.

This article written by Ashley Huffman.

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