grid house

A group of homes located on 'the Grid,' a housing area located behind East Carolina University's campus, along the Tar River.

Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper issued a stay-at-home order on March 27 as another step to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Students of East Carolina University are following the stay-at-home order while they continue to practice necessary safety precautions.

The stay-at-home order was issued to all 100 counties of North Carolina. The order took effect on Mar 30 and will end on April 29. Gatherings of individuals should be reduced to ten people and individuals should not travel unless it is essential.

Additionally, the order said that essential businesses will continue to remain open and operational as long as they are prioritizing social distancing measures.

“To continue our aggressive battle against COVID-19, I have signed a Stay at Home Order for the entire state of North Carolina. Though it is difficult, we must do this to slow the disease spread. We need our medical system to be able to care for the friends and family we know will become seriously ill from the virus,” Cooper said in the release.

Senior anthropology major and African and African American studies minor, Jessica Kearney, said she is residing at the 33 East student living apartment complex at this time. Kearney also mentioned she believes that the stay-at-home order is the best option for North Carolina, and she is happy with this decision.

“I believe that the stay-at-home order is beneficial for us. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. Gathering in large groups and travelling unnecessarily only aids to spread the virus. However, with a stay-at-home order should have come a rent and utility freeze,” Kearney said.

Employees of non-essential jobs are out of work at the moment and cannot afford the cost of living while the order is in place, according to Kearney. She said she thinks there is more of a logical approach with morally correct decisions and that corporations should either continue to pay their employees even though they are not able to work, or landlords should cancel rent for the time being.

Individuals still traveled over spring break when the recommendation was to stay home to decrease the number of individuals testing positive, according to Kearney. She said the numbers have spiked and now, since staying home is enforced, the hope is to flatten the curve of the pandemic.

“This stay-at-home order does not affect me too greatly as I have been pretty much following these guidelines since spring break. We are still allowed to travel but only for essentials, absolute necessities and emergencies so hopefully we can flatten the curve soon,” Kearney said.

Kearney mentioned she used to go to the gym every day and now, she tries to work out from home because the gyms that are still open are considered to be a high-risk area. Kearney’s family does grocery shopping online and picks it up at their local grocery store. She said she rarely leaves her apartment.

“I wash my hands frequently and I don’t ever touch my face. I am only venturing out when absolutely necessary. If I do have to go out, I practice social distancing. It is very, very, important to me that I mitigate the risks at every turn,” Kearney said.

Freshman social work major Kashayia Coltrane said she is currently residing in Greensboro, North Carolina. Coltrane said the sooner everybody in society follows the stay-at-home order, the sooner everybody can go back to their regular lives.

Coltrane said individuals should continuously disinfect areas of the house that humans naturally touch a lot, such as doorknobs, light switches and countertops.

“Although the stay-at-home order is enforced now, it should have been put into place when the virus was first found out about in December. This would have helped tremendously. I think the number of cases for the coronavirus would have been a lot lower than what we are experiencing now,” Coltrane said.

Though she said she is disappointed she can’t finish her freshman year on campus and is disappointed there is no face-to-face interaction with professors and the campus resources can’t be utilized anymore, Coltrane said she understands why these measures are put in place.

Coltrane said she is trying to minimize contact with as many people as she can. To ensure the safety of herself and others, she said she carries around hand sanitizer everywhere she goes and consistently washes her hands.

“We all have to try to practice good hygiene. It can’t just be one person and a limited amount of people. We have to be in this together. We have to try to stay strong,” Coltrane said.

Junior business management major Rebecca Roberts said she is currently still residing with her two roommates on the Grid, which is directly across from ECU’s campus. Roberts said she is planning on graduating early.

The stay-at-home order is completely necessary, according to Roberts. Although she said she is catching up on her academic work, she thinks she is starting to get stir-crazy from being stuck inside all the time, but understands she needs to do her part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“Since the food industry has been shut down, I am now out of a job. I work at Red Robin as a waitress. I also feel like my education is now limited and I’m missing out on important things. Our graduation commencement has been postponed and I know a lot of college students were planning on walking across the stage in May,” Roberts said.

Roberts also said she is personally not leaving her house unless she absolutely needs to. Roberts along with her roommates are continuously cleaning the house and limiting their interactions with the outside world.

“This whole situation is not ideal. My dad owns his own company that was deemed non-essential to the state. We are both currently out of work. My brother had to get his first year of high school cut short just like most college students nationwide. I’m hoping everyone in society realizes how serious this situation is, stays hygienic and stays home so we can get back to living our lives normally,” Roberts said.

Individuals can find necessary safety precautions and recommendations for self-quarantine on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website. It is recommended that individuals follow the stay-at-home order, along with these precautions and recommendations to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus.

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