OPINION: Perplexing pandemic times

OPINION: Perplexing pandemic times

By David Gomez Jr.
Editor-in-chief
Published Monday, Sept. 7, 2020

So far as editor-in-chief for a second semester, it is already overwhelming but I cannot see anyone else doing what I do. I am sure anyone can do what I do, especially if they have organization skills–seriously.

Anyway, that was just me blowing off some steam, but blowing off steam can get people into strange situations or start something they never intended to start.

One of the things blowing up my realms of social media has been that Texas A&M International University and the City of Laredo are in some type of “battle.” This disagreement calls into question TAMIU choices regarding the pandemic. Leaving flex scheduling and both buildings, the Academic Innovation Center (that’s how you spell it, KGNS), and the Kinesiology, Wellness & Recreation Center, open for students and faculty. That quarantine order was later rescinded.

From what I read from a wide variety of local theories, reaching into the unknown, the reason for the initial quarantine order was because the previous Laredo Health Department director is now a consultant to TAMIU, or because the City of Laredo cannot force any of its orders onto TAMIU, or my favorite reach yet, because the University is being run by marionettes and is making administration and faculty its puppets with strings that stem all the way from College Station–reptiles in disguise is what I am getting at here. Hilarious stuff.

Then again, this might be the year where some believe such oddities. Students and everyday people are believing without seeing anymore. Twenty-twenty. 2020. The year that spawned bizarre theories out of boredom due to quarantine and overactive imaginations.

TAMIU is not safe from those same imaginations at all this year. I believe things will blow out of proportion a lot this semester and if things do not wind down, it’ll certainly flow into the spring.

I think this is all just people blowing off steam in the worst way.

Of course, it looks bad for our University to keep its doors open through a global pandemic but some of our international students might not have gotten enrolled if TAMIU went fully online (at least, that’s how it looked up until around July 14 when ICE and the Trump administration backed off of that international student requirement). Flex scheduling helps with situations like that, where funding may be dependent on face-to-face class offerings. We are an international university, after all.

This past summer, in July, new international students could take a full course load online without complications from U.S. Customs or the student’s respective embassy.

I’ve been here at TAMIU since 2006. There was that gap from 2012 to 2019 where I did leave, though. I believe I know already how this works, in a way. I was there for what my friends called “Swine 09” when the H1N1 epidemic occurred. It only lasted for a week but, even then, TAMIU knew to close its doors when things turned for the worse.

And currently, this pandemic, things are bad. Yet, we are living with it and adjusting to find some form of normalcy–even if that means going to a class face-to-face. You do not have to, but you can.

If someone tells you it is raining and someone else says it is not, you go to the window and check for yourself.

I am not saying I defend TAMIU’s rejection of the city order, but I understand why we students are making a big deal about this. We care so much for our school that we don’t want anyone here to contract the virus. TAMIU is home and we want to keep it as clean and safe as possible.

Here’s a shout out to the maintenance staff for doing the best they can with what they’ve got! Thank you for all your work.

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