Student action is critical to protecting workers

Student action is critical to protecting workers

Marking the first days of classes, the Reynolda cabinet and academic deans sent a heartfelt letter to students: “We Believe in You. Each of you individually, and all of you collectively.” The Editorial Board of the Old Gold & Black echoes this statement from our university: it’s up to us students to fulfill our goal of staying on campus until November. 

As of Aug. 26, the positive case count at Wake Forest is 11. We, like many students, were initially surprised at the low number reflected in the dashboard. However, this count in no way confirms that there are no other cases on campus. Even further, it can only do so much to inform what tomorrow will look like. So, what does this mean? Students must stay vigilant and informed, and should recognize that the next two weeks will either allow for Wake Forest to be a national success story or another version of Notre Dame and UNC Chapel Hill. 

While we at the Old Gold & Black always work to ground our reporting in reality, that doesn’t mean that we support pessimism. As much as comedy is a great way to cope with challenges, we implore students to retire the countdown jokes, freshman blame and asking each other how long we think we’re going to be here. Instead, we should all embrace the privilege of getting a chance to make campus life work. We don’t discount the social hardships that come with physical distancing, but we also must concede that making an effort to follow the guidelines over the next two weeks will make or break our chances of staying here. 

Even further, we should not only be following the guidelines for ourselves, but also for those in our community. Many of our on campus workers are from the Black and LatinX communities in Winston-Salem, which have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. According to Forsyth County Health Department, as of Aug. 22, 67.1% of cases in Forsyth County are attributed to minority populations. The people who feed us and keep our campus clean are working overtime to make sure we have the amenities needed to succeed. Further, if the decision is made to lockdown or even close campus, these members of our community will be left unemployed yet again. 

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So, clean up after yourself. Wear your mask correctly in Benson University Center, in the Pit and even just while walking around campus. These are the ultimate signs of respect you can show for our essential workers. Let’s come together to protect those who make Wake Forest home. Let’s “Show Humanitate” not only for ourselves or our closest friends, but for the members of the university community who work hardest for us. 

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