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March, 2020

Staying at Home

The importance of practicing social distancing

By Taylor Burnette | For The Post

A long with many others around the world, Bobcats far and wide have hunkered down in a dedicated effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing.

Social distancing, according to the CDC, means avoiding large gatherings and remaining approximately 6 feet from others whenever possible. Many different types of places, ranging from restaurants to hairdressers to bowling alleys, have been closed by Governor Mike DeWine in the previous days. Social distancing applies not only to those who are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, but people from all walks of life.

"Social distance is important for everyone because it minimizes the risk for new infections,” Caroline Kingori, an assistant professor of social and public health, said in an email. “The fact that the disease is spread through close contact means that anyone can get infected. So it is important that everyone practice social distance to slow the spread of the virus."

For some Ohio University students, working in essential services, like grocery stores and pharmacies, can prove difficult when practicing social distancing, but Becca Roth does her best at following the CDC’s rules while also showing up for work when scheduled.

“I'm doing my best to stay at home, but I do work at an essential store here,” Roth, a junior studying sports management, said. “I work at Target, so when I do have to go to work, I really don't have an option. I basically only leave the house when I go to work, which is maybe three times a week. I'm doing the best I can just stay inside and just stay healthy as well.”

At work, Roth said measures have been put into place for safety there as well.

“We are just trying our best to sanitize after every transaction if we're able, and just overall, if you are feeling unwell, stay at home,” Roth said. “Then we have our order pick-up and drive-up services. A lot of our customers are using that as well. So it's just a matter of making sure that everything is clean and wiping off devices after everyone touches them.”

Other students such as Isabella Philippi, a pre-bachelor of specialized studies junior, is social distancing far from Ohio.

“I am from Puerto Rico, and I was here visiting my family for spring break, and I got stuck here. I haven't been back to Ohio since before spring break,” Philippi said. “It's been very stressful just being away from Ohio. It's my third year and then not having the end of it was really stressful. I had to move out to (via) FaceTime because I had an amazing friend who did me a huge favor of getting all my things and putting it in storage.”

For Philippi, social distancing will be an opportunity to focus on school and tie up loose ends.

“I'm probably gonna stay in … I obviously have to do all the classwork, and so I think I'm just gonna stay at home, probably do all the things that I said I was gonna do I never finished doing,” Philippi said.

For Roth, she plans to keep busy by improving her living space at her parent’s house.

“I'm taking time at home to clean out my room and just … get all my 12-year-old self out of my bedroom,” Roth said. “I found my old Nintendo DS. I've been using that a little bit. It still works … I'll go outside in the backyard and play around.”

Kingori believes social distancing also involves the disclosure of diagnosis, especially for the sake of others who have been exposed. She stressed the importance of quarantining those infected in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

“Disclosure of one’s infection is necessary so that those individuals who have come into contact with the infected person can self-quarantine and/or get tested in order to reduce the likelihood of infecting more people,” Kingori said.

The CDC also recommends and emphasizes the importance of social distancing for all people, no matter the status of their health. Many, like Philippi, have taken this to heart.

“I understand that at Ohio University we have that reputation of like, ‘Oh, my god, let's go out, and let's party,’ but I think now is the time that we need to reflect only to think not about ourselves, but other people,” Philippi said.

Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated Caroline Kingori’s title. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

AUTHOR: Taylor Burnette
EDITOR: Baylee DeMuth
COPY EDITOR: Bre Offenberger
ILLUSTRATION: Rilee Lockhart