Hope College, it is good to be back. It is good to be back in my hammock in the Pine Grove, praying that the squirrel on this tree does not crawl from its humble abode and down into my temporary resting place. It is good to be back in Holland, Michigan, the only place in the world that can somehow manage to be more Dutch than the actual Netherlands. It is good to be back near Lake Michigan, whose biggest sales pitches are that it is unsalted and has no sharks–things that could also be said about a kiddy pool in the basement of Durfee Hall.
Yes, it is good to be back, but it would be so much better to stay. It would be so much more satisfying to get through this entire in-person semester unscathed. It would be so much more fun to maintain proximity to Lake Michigan and not be shipped back unceremoniously to landlocked Indiana.
But in order to stay, in order to make it through this odd, imperfect semester, we all have to wear our masks.
I know. I know you’re sick of wearing it, sick of hearing about it and just want things to be “back to normal,” but the harsh reality is that things are not, and will not be for some time yet, normal. And while we live in this purgatory of what feels like a six-month version of March, we need to be mindful of the lack of normalcy.
So I’ll say again: wear your masks.
I know someone is reading this and shaking their head saying, “But I’m young and healthy. Even if I do get corona, I’ll be fine.” While that’s super cool for you, not everyone on this campus can flex a fully operational immune system–not to mention that you probably have professors who are more at risk because of their age. In addition to that, if there were a coronavirus outbreak here on campus, the entire Holland community would suffer as a result, and we all know who lines up outside of Windmill Restaurant on Sunday mornings: old people.
Don’t we want to stay? Don’t we want to finish out this semester in person? I feel pretty confident that we do. So let’s be annoyed with masks for just a little bit longer. Let’s do what we have to do so that we can eventually do all the things we miss the most, and, more importantly, so that no one gets coronavirus. That’s kind of the top priority right now.