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Protecting the Greatest Generation — Or Not

While Congress is in session, lawmakers ought to pass one more bill related to COVID-19. It would alter the application for college student financial aid, both grants and loans. Financial aid applications from individual colleges and universities could copy the language.

Question 1 would become: “During 2020, did you make a ‘spring break’ trip to a crowded destination such as a beach?

“If you answered ‘yes,’ stop here and tear up the form. You should have stopped to think that the people who fund all sorts of student aid, both government and private, are the very older Americans you put at risk by ignoring social distancing recommendations during spring break. They have no desire to help you out in any way.

“Lots of luck, jerk.”

COVID-19 seems to be a danger primary to older people with underlying medical conditions. It can infect younger generations, including college students, but the symptoms usually are mild.

So, if a college student on spring break catches the virus, he or she may feel fine — but can pass it on to others who may die from it.

Either some in the current crop of college students aren’t bright enough to know that — or they just don’t care. Whichever reason applies, do you, Mr. and Ms. Older American, really feel like chipping in to help them get through college? And, need I say it, to have enough money to go to Florida for spring break?

As an aside, no one I knew while I was in college at West Virginia University some years ago had enough cash to cover much spring break. One year, some of us did splurge and go to the beach — at Cheat Lake — for an afternoon.

Understand this, of course: Many younger people are fully aware of the hazards of COVID-19. They’re doing all they can to keep from picking up the virus and spreading it to older, at-risk people.

A significant number are volunteering to help those encountering challenges from steps taken to keep the virus from spreading. They are helping deliver school meals to children and volunteering to make grocery runs for older folks who have self-quarantined as a precaution.

Bless them. Take the student aid money for which the spring break crowd has disqualified itself and give it to some of these deserving young people. Maybe help them avoid some of that crushing student loan debt.

The point has been made that in keeping COVID-19 from spreading, Americans are protecting the Greatest Generation. These men and women made enormous sacrifices, sometimes of life itself.

It seems little enough to ask the younger generation to sacrifice spring break on the beach for them.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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