Image by Anna DeSmet

Students cough once, forcibly quarantined

It is a dangerous time to have a common cold. Before coronavirus, the maximum amount of coughs allowed per class was around 10 or 15 before one became embarrassed and everyone in the class became fed up. 

Now, one cough and everyone looks at the perpetrator as though they have just committed an unforgivable act of bioterror. The developments of coronavirus have made life for those with a normal, non-global pandemic related illness impossible to bear. These are their stories.

“I have had a cough for a couple weeks, and it is still lingering,” Ann Thracks ’21 said via Zoomphone interview. “I am literally not even sick anymore, but I coughed twice in my political science lecture, and five minutes later, two figures dressed in full hazmat suits came in shouting and dragged me out of the classroom like that scene in Monster’s Inc.”

As sniffling students attempt to go about their normal lives, many report being ostracized by their friends and classmates. It is even rumored that if students are observed coughing in classes, professors and others are to report them to the Health Service so they can follow up with the potential biohazards. 

“I am not messing around,” Cee DiCee ’23 said. “My girlfriend cleared her throat and claimed it was allergies, but I know the truth. I will not let her in my room, and I will not let her hug or kiss me. I reported her to the Health Service. Social distancing, baby.” 

If ostracization from friends and classmates is not enough to make someone feel like they are a disgusting Corona slime monster, social distancing has been emphatically enforced by Lewis & Clark’s administration. Despite there already being a significant amount of social distancing among the LC community regularly, the college still seeks to eradicate any trace of sickness from our campus. This meant switching to an online education model to make sure that students are not in contact with one another. 

In a recent email, Cole Vid, the Dean of Health and Wellness, said, “If your mic is unmuted on Zoom and you are heard coughing or sneezing, we encourage instructors to remove you from the Zoom meeting immediately. CDC officials are still unsure if the virus can be transmitted via audio/video platforms and other forms of technology. In other words, if you even so much as sniffle, please do not even leave your bed for the next six to eight weeks. We are not messing around, motherfuckers.” 

On the bright side, flu season is almost over. With any luck, those with normal colds and flus may soon be spared from the deep embarrassment, guilt and social shunning from daring to step outside. In the meantime, stock up on cough drops and practice holding your breath for as long as possible, just in case you feel the need to cough in public. Be strong. Stifle it. Do not cough it out.

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