As we all start to get settled in for the semester, many of you are likely wondering what Texas Tech has done to ensure that the possible spread of COVID-19, is kept to an absolute minimum. However, many of you might be surprised at the lack of safety in specific facilities.

As stated on the Center for Disease Control website, there is a whole slew of rules and regulations that must be followed in order to ensure that we maintain a virus-free environment (It would seem at the surface that Tech is following most, if not all of the regulations. I went to a few areas with heavy student foot traffic in order to see how much Tech is really following these rules.

The most obvious first location to discuss would be the Student Union Building, as it is a popular area for students to be passing through or grabbing a bite to eat. As with all of Tech campus, masks are required to be on, and social distancing is encouraged inside. There are lines of tape on the ground meant to direct foot traffic, as well as distance put between furniture located near the ballrooms. This helps reinforce the idea of maintaining a constant distance from other people. In addition, the water drinking fountains are closed (although the bottle filling station is still open at the time of this publication) and there are sanitization stations located at the entrances and exits. Overall, it seems like the SUB is doing an excellent job at following CDC guidelines.

Interestingly enough, a very similar experience was found at the library, with the addition of marking off every other computer in order to keep distances from one another, as well as touchless printers. Once again, a great job at following guidelines.

It was especially impressive to see how the Student Wellness Center was operating. By merely standing outside the wellness center, you find a load of valuable information ranging from 24/7 mental health hotlines, to temperature screenings of everyone who enters the center. There is even a protocol from the Student Health Services, of what to do in order to get tested for COVID-19, as well as what to do after if the tests come back positive. 

However, there seems to be one place in particular that could prove to be a COVID hotspot, and that is the Recreation Center. After I spent only a few minutes observing inside the center, it became clear that while everywhere else masks are required, that rule is little more then an offhanded remark. Students seem to get turned away at the front desk if they aren’t wearing a mask, however, almost immediately afterwards, can take it off. The staff either doesn’t see or doesn’t care enough to say anything, but either way, it is unacceptable. The Rec is easily one of the most populous buildings on campus at all times, with people constantly moving in and out. This is an outbreak waiting to happen and should be taken care of right away if we expect to have any more classes in person. The rest of the building has similar regulations in place as the previous buildings.

I myself, personally do not like wearing masks, as they are uncomfortable and shoot hot air into my eyes depending on the angle it’s at, and yet, I will wear a mask unconditionally. Not just to protect myself, but to protect my fellow students and peers. We all want to have a great semester here this fall, we’ve been cooped up since March and are tired of not seeing our friends and going outside. Heck, many of us even miss the classes themselves just for something to keep our minds busy. But it won’t last more then a month if we don’t come together as a community, a Red Raider community. We all know how much pride and teamwork we have when we set our minds to it, just look at any Tech student at football games. Be a team player, wear a mask, even if you hate it. Your small sacrifice will add up and matter, and together, we can have our football games, our parties and our college experience.

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