University students are in the spotlight and in the focus of controversy. He increase in outbreaks detected in residences and halls of residence It has set off the alarms of the educational community and the regional governments, which are trying to contain the growing number of infections among university students.
“This is not a joke”, stated this Monday the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, making an appeal to the responsibility of the university students. He did so after acknowledging being concerned about the situation in Granada, where more than 150 infections have already been detected by Covid-19 in seven residences university students in the city.
Most cases occur in mass events, parties and bottles where young people do not wear masks or comply with the safety distance. This type of behavior has focused the attention of governments, which see how the increase in infections among students (and, therefore, in the incidence rate) it places them on the brink of confinement. For this reason, the debate on the presence of teaching has been reactivated. Most agree that university spaces are safe and that the measures are strictly adhered to, but How can you ensure that they continue to be met outside the center?
María Lizondo, a 22-year-old student at the Granada University (UGR)Classes began on October 19, “but now it will be directly online, without knowing the teachers,” he says. According to him, his roommate has attended some class, “and from the beginning he has told me that the security measures are perfectly respected.. She is not the first person to tell me that where she feels safest is in class, where there is no risk of contagion “, says the student of the master’s degree in teaching.
“I have many friends and acquaintances who live in colleges and some of them have had to confine themselves to their rooms having been in contact with a positive “, explains Lizondo, pointing out that all the measures have been kept in the colleges of his acquaintances, and that” the infections that have occurred for having partied and being in contact with positive; something the school cannot control. ”
So much Granada and Catalonia have already decided to suspend face-to-face classes for 15 days, to stop the expansion of coronavirus. And it is that in Barcelona there are about 300 students confined after detecting outbreaks in two university residences (the college ‘Penyafort Montserrat’ and the residence ‘Aleu‘).
“The measure that the Board has taken to close the high schools at 10 p.m. seems ridiculous to me, considering that the main transmission problem is the bars, discotheques and the ‘lateo’ parties that start at 5 p.m. late, in which the measurements are not respected and where not even a mask is seen. By the time these parties are cut, I am sure that the infections would decrease “, affirms the student from Granada, María Lizondo.
In Salamanca, the Minister of Health of the Junta de Castilla y León, Verónica Casado, assured this Tuesday that the city is close to being confined by “bad behavior” among some of its university students, who have placed the cumulative incidence rate at 454.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Apart from taking concrete measures (such as expulsion of students who broke the rules and the restriction of entry and exit times at residences), the regional executive is evaluating the possibility of eliminating face-to-face classes at the universities of Salamanca (USAL and Pontificia).
Another university that has had to do without the presence of its more than 2,500 students is the Polytechnic of Valencia, after the Covid-19 outbreak that confined more than 600 students of the Galileo Galilei college, after a massive party.
The irresponsible behavior of some young people, despite the continuous warnings from the health authorities, is conditioned by several factors. “First of all, young people perceive risk differently. They feel young and strong; that is, immune”, explains the 20minutos the sociologist and researcher of the agency ’40dB’, Paula Ruiz, affirming that they project their experiences “in the short term” and are less aware of the consequences. They feel that they must take advantage of the time and live the maximum possible experiences, adds.
Further, the process of socialization of the youngest is a very important pillar in their lives. “For an adult, most of their social relationships are already formed, so staying home or doing less leisure activities does not have to be a great effort. On the other hand, for a teenager, it is,” he says the sociologist.
Ruiz points out that the message they have been getting in recent months is that the virus mainly affects the elderly, so “Young people who are not in contact with vulnerable groups (such as parents or grandparents) see fewer impediments when it comes to engaging in this type of behavior”. This would explain the growing number of infections that are occurring mainly in student residences, where young people do not live with their relatives, and “do not see themselves as a risk, unless they consciously know that they have been in contact with a positive. ”
University parties and drinking bottles have always been very common among students, but the current epidemiological situation has made it necessary to appeal to the responsibility of young people, who are asked to avoid such encounters. “Did the authorities really think that the pandemic was going to change the situation?” Lizondo asks. “There are many young people who are aware of the serious situation we are experiencing, but many other young people – and not so young – are so selfish who do not see beyond their needs and desires, and are only interested in partying and ‘making up for lost time’ with friends, “laments the student.
The fear that another confinement may be decreed may be another reason that explains some behaviors. According to the sociologist Paula Ruiz, many, “while trying to make up for lost time during the March lockdown, they are now trying to take advantage of this type of activity. “
This situation is causing them to pay just for sinners, something that several students – deprived of face-to-face classes for certain irresponsible acts – have already denounced. “Many young people respect all the measures, they get together with their friends as little as possible so as not to put themselves in danger, they make the minimum social life outside their narrow circle … and now, for a few fools, the whole university of Granada is staying without classes. What is my fault, since I arrived in Granada, going out the least and seeing my friends three times? “, asserts the young woman. “I am paying for a student flat because I live far from Granada, and now they tell me that I have to study at a distance.”
Lizondo considers that, if everyone had followed the measures from the beginning, “we would not have reached this situation” and regrets that many do not do like her, when it comes to “being responsible and thinking about society as a whole.”
The students insist on pointing out that these are isolated cases, and that many more are responsible than the irresponsible. Many have seen how, since the de-escalation, the youngest have been identified as the main culprits of outbreaks and they ensure that adults also carry out this type of behavior.
“It is clear that the parties are a source of contagion; but I think we cannot generalize, since there are other sources, and stigmatizing them can be a mistake that, far from stopping these behaviors, accentuates them “, concludes the sociologist Paula Ruiz.