The impact of the virus is bigger than your canceled spring break plans

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to shut down or limit their hours. As a result, students and their families have lost their jobs and dealt with growing financial worries.

But as families are figuring out ways to make ends meet, financially secure students are taking to Twitter, Instagram and the Overheard at GW Facebook group to complain about their ruined spring break plans. Your loss is nothing compared to the loss thousands of people have faced with their jobs. Now is not the time to complain about a trip you can get back down the line. Instead of lamenting, appreciate what you have and help people who are struggling.

I am fortunate enough to be working a job through the University that allows me to work remotely and has not led me to lose my income. If I did not have a job that allowed remote work, I would struggle to make loan payments and travel to and from school. But there are many students who work on campus and in D.C. or families that have lost their primary source of income.

Oregon, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Washington, New York, California, Illinois, Ohio, Delaware and Louisiana have ordered residents to stay home and non-essential businesses to close, while Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts and the District have told all non-essential businesses to shut down. These are typical jobs for students, and it is not uncommon for family members to work in these businesses or to own businesses that have been forced to close. For instance, Compass Coffee has fired 80 percent of its staff in order to stay relatively open. Spring break plans should be the least of anyone’s concerns.

Although 14 percent of GW students come from the top 1 percent, there are still many students who have lost their jobs or who have family members who have lost their main source of income. Just because you and your family have not had to deal with hardships brought on by this virus does not mean you have an excuse to be ignorant and selfish.

The disappointment in calling off spring break plans and events for the rest of the semester is understandable. We’re all in college and should not need to deal with these hardships. But this is much bigger and much more serious than your upsets. Students must be sympathetic to their peers and the families of those at GW who may be struggling right now or may face serious hardship. To help, students and their families can donate to the GW Cares Student Assistance Fund. That money will go to any student facing financial hardship because of COVID-19.

While the University is doing as much as they can right now, it is up to us to show compassion for our peers and recognize that this virus and the consequences of the pandemic are much bigger than ourselves.

Hannah Thacker, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is the contributing opinions editor.

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