To the person reading this – I want to have a heart-to-heart, RedHawk to RedHawk. There has been so much information thrown at us this year from all different kinds of sources. I feel overwhelmed and exhausted, probably the same as you. Our feelings of frustration can’t overpower our sense of compassion right now. There’s nothing wrong with experiencing a lot of emotions – you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t feeling that way.
So, how risky is it? This is a big question among Miami students. How risky is it for me to live in the dorms? Or go to King? Or even go uptown to Skippers? We are happy to see these questions – it’s important not to let your guard down during this time. It’s our choice how this school year will pan out.
Those at higher risk should be more cautious when considering public situations. Luckily, most of the restaurants in Oxford have takeout options!
But as a rule of thumb, here are seven risky situations to avoid:
Physical distancing is difficult or impossible.
Assess whether or not you can maintain 6 feet of space between yourself and people you don’t live with. If you can’t maintain 6 feet of distance, it’s probably best to leave or avoid that space.
People aren’t wearing face coverings.
Y’all – this is the BARE minimum. Face coverings protect you from exposure and can reduce the chance you’ll spread the virus to others if you are asymptomatic or presymptomatic. Also: it’s required. Any two or three-ply cotton face covering that covers the nose and mouth will work. Wash your hands before you put on your face covering and after you take it off. If you wear a reusable face covering, wash it regularly! Watch for a blog post coming soon about the different types of face coverings to learn more about your options.
Outdoor activities are generally safer than indoor activities. If you are going to hang out with a small (emphasis on small!) group of friends, do it outdoors where you can maintain space. Eating inside a restaurant is riskier than eating outside. If you are going to a restaurant, pick one with outdoor seating (and Oxford is expanding patio options all the time!).
You’re in contact with people you don’t live with.
Sit down with the people you live with and decide what you will consider your “Oxford family.” There are 8 people total in my Oxford family – we maintain communication about our whereabouts and are on the same page about health/safety. Sustained contact (more than 15 minutes) with those who aren’t in your Oxford family is a higher-risk situation than any form of brief contact. For example, stopping to talk to someone while you’re out walking is riskier than just walking by and waving hello.
There are a lot of people around.
We are all craving social interaction, but please avoid large social gatherings. Restrict your circle to a small group of people you trust. If you end up hosting friends, follow these guidelines:
- Limit to 10 people or fewer. That’s TOTAL people; it includes you and your roommates.
- Hang out outside
- Keep chairs 6 feet apart
- Have a designated guest bathroom
- Ask friends to bring their own snacks/drinks
People are yelling, laughing, or singing without masks on.
Talking, yelling, exercising and singing can spread infected respiratory droplets.
Food isn’t individually served / packaged.
People sharing food utensils and congregating around areas where food is laid out can pose a risk. Avoid buffet-style serving situations. And this goes for drinks too, friends. Sharing beverages is a hard “NO.”
Channel what you’re feeling into being responsible and accountable. Take precautions, listen to the experts, and have productive conversations with your friends. Our situation will get better. But the matter of how soon is up to you and me.
Love and Honor.
Kathryn Moir | Marketing & IMS
7 steps to identify risky COVID-19 situations: Nebraska Medicine Omaha, NE. Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/7-steps-to-identify-risky-covid-19-situations