Well, it’s official. This week marks the FiFtEeNtH DaY oF InStRuCtiOn, and as of press time, there’s been no campus shutdown. Nice job defending your den, Grizzlies.

This 15th day, Wednesday, Sept. 9, is the last day you can drop a class on Cyberbear to get a full refund. Coincidentally, it’s also the day UM has planned, finally, to release a first set of numbers of COVID cases on campus.

As UM gears up to publicize testing statistics and coronavirus-positive rates from Curry Health Center for the first time since the pandemic started — and as we simultaneously commit to fall semester by finalizing our (for the most part in-person) tuition payments — it’s important to talk about responsibility.

“Oh, BOOOOO,” you might be saying. “When is everyone going to SHUT UP about responsibility?!” And we get it. But hear us out. Because we’re talking about institutional accountability.

We’ll soon know what COVID really looks like on campus. We’ll be financially locked in to our classes. We’re here, and UM wants us here to stay.

This week, in our cover story, we check in with students living on-campus. How is dorm life going during a semester when a midnight trip to the bathroom, down the hall, without a mask, could get you written up? (True story.)

It’s so easy, isn’t it, to place the responsibility (and blame) on an individual? It’s easy to send an email to thousands of 18- to 22-year-olds, asking them to consider social distancing over Labor Day weekend; and it’s easy to blame them when they go out anyway and come back infected.

This is not to say that individuals don’t need to act responsibly. The only way this school year is going to work is if every single person does their part, in the dorms, during classes and on Friday nights. You are not exempt from the rules.

UM, like every other institution, is trying to solve an unsolvable problem: How do you maintain a functioning society in the middle of a pandemic, when, in reality, if the country could all just completely shut down, we might curb COVID-19?

Is the solution outdoor classes under tents that leak rainwater? Or clearly marked hallways and classrooms dictating where everyone should sit? Or Healthy Griz Kits, maybe?

We don’t know. We’re not sure UM does, either.

As we move forward, as a student body, we need to hold one another accountable. But more than that, as we watch other universities across the country threaten to discipline (and in some cases, expel) students who don’t follow all of the rules, we need to hold accountable the institution that decided to bring us back together in the first place.

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