Party Patrol: Enforcing COVID Procedures One Mask at a Time

Stephanie Blaisdell, who oversees the Party Patrol, says that the majority of students they come across are following safety protocols and appreciate the free supplies they hand out.

There’s a new sheriff in town; the Party Patrol has taken over for UPD in patrolling New Paltz for violations of COVID-19 protocols. 

Since the beginning of the semester, a volunteer group made up of SUNY New Paltz staff members and Town and Village elected officials have been walking around New Paltz every weekend, looking for any students violating the COVID-19 safety protocols set by SUNY and the CDC and helping to reinforce these protocols.

“We normally rely on UPD to enforce laws and policies, but consistent with how other law enforcement agencies are responding in the pandemic, UPD agrees that they are not the right agency to enforce mask wearing and social distancing,” said Party Patrol member and Vice President for Student Affairs Stephanie Blaisdell. “We have asked our community to hold each other accountable for our own safety, and that applies to both daytime and nighttime hours. We saw a need to provide students a gentle reminder that their behavior matters all the time, and to reinforce the safe behavior we largely are seeing on party patrol.”

The Party Patrol’s purpose is to remind students to wear face masks and practice social distancing. They have handed out masks and hand sanitizer to students on campus and in town, as well as continued to educate those who are not following safety protocols.

Now that SUNY has increased their enforcement policies and punishments for violating COVID-19 protocols, the Party Patrol must also adhere to these policies. Consequences may include academic and housing suspension and possible expulsion.

SUNY New Paltz has not had any reported active COVID-19 cases since Sept. 21, which was an off-campus student, but President Donald P. Christian emphasized in his President’s Report to the Academic and Professional Faculty that these protocols must still be followed.

“We should not lower our guard given recent upticks in COVID-19 cases in New York City, parts of the lower Hudson Valley, and several other New York counties — as well as other parts of the country,” President Christian said.

This attitude is part of the school’s “We, Not Me” campaign they have emphasized this semester.

“Every student we have encountered has been very gracious and appreciative of the free supplies and gentle reminders,” Blaisdell said. “We believe that we have helped students to remember that their behavior matters, and that they are accountable to both the campus and greater community to make safe choices to protect themselves and others.”

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About Rachel Muller 47 Articles
Rachel Muller is a fourth-year journalism major with an international relations minor. This is her fourth semester on The Oracle and she was previously an assistant copy editor for news. She prefers writing news articles and articles about her travels.