Over Labor Day weekend it seems everyone suddenly forgot social distancing protocol and freely celebrated the holiday with parties throughout Baton Rouge.
Most of the popular pool parties that ended up splattered across social media were located at Baton Rouge apartment complexes, including a few that are considered popular choices for the University’s students as substitutes for upperclassmen housing due to their proximity to campus.
Yet Baton Rouge apartment complexes still are not doing enough to make sure their residents are following proper social distancing guidelines.
These apartment complexes should have developed strict safety protocol in light of this pandemic. There’s no logical reason not to increase security during holidays. Some of those Labor Day parties had dozens in attendance; complexes should hold residents that arrange these events accountable for jeopardizing the health of those around them.
Those same complexes need to start holding themselves accountable for their lack of preparation during this pandemic. Most of their occupants are young college students who have been stuck inside for months. Why not have extra protocol in place to protect residents?
I live in one of these off-campus apartments. From first-hand experience, I do not feel safe. There are few regulations to prevent social gatherings; even the mask requirement is not strictly enforced. On multiple occasions, parties in my building had toa be dispersed by police.
There is little security in these buildings, which gives residents the opportunity to freely party. While there are security guards, they’re generally very inattentive; employees often stroll the hallways and enter residents’ units without wearing masks.
Baton Rouge apartments need to do more to protect their residents. Housing should have increased supervision to guarantee residents’ health and safety as well as prevent large parties from occurring in their buildings. Overnight security should be increased, and maintenance employees should sanitize common areas more often.
Are our Baton Rouge complexes doing enough to ensure the safety of their residents during a pandemic? No, they are not. Students depend on these buildings for quality off-campus housing; in turn, their safety affects the on-campus community and the city as a whole.
I cannot put the blame entirely on management. As students, we must refrain from putting ourselves and our peers in danger for the sake of going to a party.
Your life, and the lives of those around you, is far more valuable than whatever enjoyment you’ll get out of hanging out by the pool for three hours. These parties won’t matter if you have to quarantine for 14 days or—even worse—be put on a ventilator.
We are all eagerly waiting for life to return to normal, but it will not happen if we keep putting ourselves and our peers in harm’s way. Management can only do so much; we also need to do more to protect ourselves.
Tamia Southall is a 19-year-old mass communication sophomore from New Orleans.