The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Maintaining college relationships during a pandemic

4 min read

Many couples struggle to maintain distance | Yehor Milohrodskyi on Unsplash


Staff Writer

Having a significant other and following quarantine guidelines can be difficult. 

Quarantine has made it difficult for many UMW students to spend time with their significant others while still following proper social distancing and quarantine guidelines mandated by the CDC, throwing romantic relationships for a loop.

Before the pandemic, students could enter residential buildings other than their own to spend time with their person. However, recently enforced MMDC protocols for UMW has students struggling to spend quality time with significant others, whether they are at the same school or attend different institutions. 

Those who are on-campus and do not live in the same residential building as their significant other cannot enter the building to visit. They are required to meet outside and remain socially distant. However, essential guests are permitted such as healthcare aides or a parent serving in that capacity. Students must fill out an online form for an essential guest to be permitted for a visit. 

“We try to do our best with social distancing and everything,” said sophomore bio-med major Zoe Hammond of her relationship. “We are going out a lot more by walking on campus and sitting outside on campus so that we can see each other. We try to limit the amount of people in our room.”

Both on and off-campus students are not permitted to host or attend a gathering of more than ten people. If a student is found to have violated these guidelines, they can face suspension or expulsion from the University. Off-campus resident students are no exception to the social distancing guidelines and are not permitted to enter on-campus residence halls to visit with other students. 

Many students with a significant other who attends UMW have been trying socially distanced picnics or trying to find other ways to spend time together outside while following the mask and distance protocols. Walks and hikes have also become a popular way for students to spend time together and be able to social distance.

Luckily for students who have significant others who do not attend UMW, there are still ways to spend time with them. Even on-campus relationships can partake in these activities to follow proper social distancing. FaceTime or Skype is a way to still be able to see them. 

“My significant other and I manage to spend time together by talking on FaceTime as well as watching Netflix together through Zoom’s screen share,” said Steven DeVerteuil, a junior computer science major. 

There are also online games couples can play together. Online scrabble is one option. Couples (or family members and friends) can play in real time against another person.

Online escape rooms also became popular during quarantine, giving people a chance to do something fun and challenging with their significant other or friend.

Although college students understand why no visitors are allowed, not many are a fan of the policy. 

“I think it’s smart within reason,” said junior psychology major Noel Jackowicz. “It’s ridiculous to assume that if you have a significant other, you aren’t going to see them. I think that adults don’t think about this rule in that way because they usually live with their significant others.”

For many students, including myself, getting back on campus is the time you get to see your significant other the most. I live in Virginia and my boyfriend lives in Pennsylvania, putting four hours between us. With COVID-19, our summer visits were scarce as we were both trying to be as safe as possible. Getting back to school, we were hopeful we would be able to see each other more. However, one of us lives on-campus while the other lives off, making it hard to spend time together.

“We were only able to see each other, I think, four times for a few days each,” said my boyfriend, junior philosophy major, Caleb Robb. “We would stay away from others for like two weeks so COVID would hopefully not be an issue. It made seeing her really difficult.”

For my relationship along with others, a heavier workload has left us with even less free time to spend time with each other. 

“We mainly hangout and do homework because there isn’t a lot of free time,” said Robb. “The professors are expecting a lot more work outside the classroom and it cuts into most free time we have together.”

Students are hopeful that by continuing to follow social distancing guidelines, they can spend more time with their significant others again soon.