Campus Coronavirus Pandemic State Stay safe, know your rights on college campuses during Halloween 2020 By Kae Walther Posted on 3 weeks ago 8 min read 0 0 89 Athens Halloween Block Party. Photo via Wikimedia Commons. While COVID-19 has ravaged Ohio and spread across the United States for more than six months now, many college students still have Halloween parties on their minds. Athens canceled its famous Halloween Block Party, but some students are planning to travel to other campuses to partake in Halloween festivities. If students choose to celebrate Halloween in Athens or on other campuses, here are some ways they can stay safe on Halloween, according to the Athens City-County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health. SOCIAL DISTANCE The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says students should maintain at least six feet apart from one another to comply with social distancing guidelines. It also recommends wearing masks. The Franklin County Health Department and the Athens City-County Health Department also recommend students monitor their health daily and reconsider attending any gathering if any symptoms show. PUBLIC LAWS ARE STILL IN ORDER ON CAMPUSES In addition to COVID-19 mandates, there are still public laws that are in place, including public indecency fines, no parking zones and public intoxication fines. According to College Factual, 52.9% of Ohio State University’s Main Campus incident reports were attributed to disciplinary actions, which are related to possession of contraband, drugs and alcohol, 74.5% of University of Cincinnati’s incident reports were attributed to disciplinary actions, and 44.6% of Ohio University’s incident reports were attributed to arrests related to possession of contraband, drugs and alcohol. PROPERLY PREPARE BEFORE GOING OUT Students should prepare for any gathering before going out by organizing a group to enter and exit with, packing a small bag with essentials such as hand sanitizer, and eating and hydrating well, according to Business Insider and College Magazine. In an email sent to students living in Ohio U residence halls, all residence halls will be limited to one entrance and exit. Anyone found holding doors for individuals will be charged in accordance to the Student Code of Conduct. All dorm residents will be required to wear wristbands, which will be used to allow only on campus students access into residence halls, and no guests of any kind are allowed in the residence halls. Any student found hosting a guest will be subject to conduct charges as well as the guest, according to the email. A fine of $100 will be given to those not following public health mandates put forth by the Athens City-County Health Center and Ohio University. PROPERLY PREPARE BEFORE HOSTING For those who plan to host gatherings this Halloween, the CDC recommends having the guest area be clean and sanitary. The CDC also advises taking guests’ temperatures before they enter the home or apartment. In accordance with Ohio University and other campus laws, there should be a maximum of 10 people at one gathering. Gatherings of more than 10 people are punishable with up to a suspension — depending on which campus the punishment occurs on. At Ohio U, a $150 fine will be levied for parties and gatherings that do not comply with public safety protocols, Special Assistant for Public Health Operations Gillian Ice wrote in an email. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM The buddy system is a proven way to reduce the risk of unwanted attention, especially at nighttime, and has even proven to relieve stress, according to the American Psychological Association. Always travel with someone trustworthy. If traveling alone, know the exact location to meet with another person. Additionally, do not let anyone within the group go anywhere alone. Another aspect of the buddy system is to arrive and leave the gathering with the same group of people. This means that the whole group, unless previously discussed, must stay together throughout the night. CARRY DETERRENTS Carrying some kind of deterrent — such as mace, pepper spray or having a phone in hand — is known to ward off unwanted predators, according to modelmugging.org, an online self-defense resource run by self-defense instructors. Always carry items lightly and in as small of a bag as possible. Many sources suggest not carrying anything more than cash, identification, a cell phone and a deterrent, as stated above. STAY ALERT Staying alert includes not taking any alcohol from anyone or, in order to not be confrontational, accept it then dispose of it quietly. Staying alert also includes being actively alert for other people, and according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, ways to prevent sexual assault from happening include creating a distraction, enlist others to help, and referring an authority to the situation. Stay Safe, Bobcats!