JMU students disregard social distancing guidelines by gathering for Saint Patrick's Day parties during the pandemic

St. Patrick’s Day is a partying tradition of many JMU students. Students typically will host gatherings, visit bars, and celebrate the Irish holiday. In the middle of a global student pandemic, students are expected to follow CDC guidelines when it comes to gatherings. However, this past Wednesday, students hosted several outdoor gatherings.

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life provided a statement about the gatherings “The expectations for Fraternity & Sorority Life remain unchanged for St. Patrick’s Day. We expect that all of our members and organizations continue to uphold the Stop the Spread agreement and follow all JMU, City of Harrisonburg, and Commonwealth of Virginia laws and regulations. Any members or organizations who do not uphold these expectations will be held accountable through OSARP and the Fraternity & Sorority Life office.”

Some students follow these guidelines. Anna Vouvalis talks about safe practices “My sorority, in particular, has been pretty good about following CDC recommendations, and they really encourage if you are hanging out with friends, you don’t wanna post about it.”

Other students refused to follow these guidelines this past Wednesday. There were several parties in the Devon Lane area. Chris Monahan says “The expectation is that people are going to be responsible. And by being responsible I mean taking the appropriate safety precautions regarding alcohol consumption but also regarding the CDC guidelines as far as gatherings and such.”

If students do decide to break guidelines, they should keep their safety in mind. “Make sure you have a designated driver. Make sure that you have a backup plan if that designated driver becomes unavailable. Monitor your friends. If you see your friend that’s starting to consume too much, let them know.”