Social distancing rules not always followed, students say

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By Noel Ceriani

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – Even though the American University of Sharjah has enforced strict coronavirus guidelines on campus since the return to in-person teaching Jan. 31, not all students have been following through.

This is visible on campus, and students interviewed in February readily acknowledged it. 

“It’s really hard to social distance when we need to get in contact with other students and professors,” said AUS student Hanaa Sadoun. “Personally, it’s unintentional if I don’t social distance.” 

When asked about the guidelines, Director of University Health Services Lubna Alsaraj said, “We continually remind students, faculty, and staff to wear masks and practice social distancing.  As a member of a university community we expect everyone to have a commitment to not only their own health and safety but also to their fellow community members.”

While AUS faculty may feel that students are being responsible with following social distancing guidelines, students themselves think otherwise. 

“Nobody social distances at all. We are all vaccinated so that’s good, but vaccinated people can still get COVID and if one gets it then it can spread,” said AUS student Reem Mugharbel. 

As for masks, “when it comes to the Student Center people don’t wear them unless they are entering, that’s the only time they tell you to put the mask on, after that it is up to you,” added Mugharbel.

AUS student and Resident Assistant Dana Maalouf said the problem is that the university used to report COVID cases on campus, but because they don’t anymore people don’t fear the virus, as they’re not informed. 

“In some classes some students don’t put a mask on. At the start of the semester people followed the rules more but now people are bored and are done with covid so they don’t think it’s an issue anymore,” Maalouf added. 

Student Council President Othman Ahmed said, “as long as cases are high the students will have to take it seriously, but for now they are taking it lightly. If we were informed of student cases then students would reconsider the pandemic and know what is actually happening.”