OP-ED: What’s The Point of Social Distancing if We’re All Going to Kiss Anyway?

The effects of COVID-19 changed life as we knew it: thousands of small business owners shut their doors, masks became ubiquitous in the common fight for public safety, and millions of Americans endured quarantines that lasted months. But as a Cornelian, I must ask, what’s the point of all these rules about maintaining six feet of distance on campus if we’re all going to be kissing anyway? 

Sure, experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci ’66 express how social distancing measures can prevent spread in normally compact spaces like cafeterias or lecture halls. But all those rules seem to go out the window when I kiss every classmate goodbye at the end of my 1:25 Philosophy discussion section, and especially make no sense if I’m going to lock lips with the head chef at every single West Campus dining hall, lest they know not how good their pasta primavera turned out. 

Our administration has shown incredible leadership and courage in this extraordinary time; I only wish they would reconcile the 10-person cap on social gatherings with the existence of my weekly TA meetings that regularly gather crowds of 20-30 students eager to fondle, feel, and french kiss their colleagues. Where is the consistency, President Pollack? All of these measures are futile, and they certainly don’t address my plan to tongue wrestle the bookstore employees before engaging in a sweaty group makeout sesh on the slope. 

Ultimately, I’m proud to be a Cornellian. I’m proud to be at an institution with the bravery to defy all odds, and the trust to call upon its students to self-regulate to ensure a successful, COVID-safe semester. And finally, I’m proud that I have still been able to kiss every housemate, medical volunteer, Spectrum serviceman, Starbucks customer, visiting parent, and TCAT bus driver I’ve encountered this semester. It’s these small freedoms that make this university that much more special.


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