The pandemic has brought about changes across the planet that no one would have predicted in January 2020. Two of the biggest changes have been the nationwide mandate of masks and the switch to remote learning for students and teachers to keep everyone safe.
Now three months into 2021 and not having been on campus for almost a year, it felt surreal to wait in my car to have my temperature taken to then walk around campus and not see another person for about 20 minutes.
Howell Wang, a second-year student in the Digital Imaging with Drones program (GCIP 168), described how it felt to be back on campus.
“It’s definitely surreal, very empty, seeing how our community has kind of broken down,” he said. “There was so much life and then when you first came back at the start of the semester it felt like a ghost town, and it didn’t feel like the warm, welcoming, lively campus that it was before the whole pandemic broke out.”
Julie Van Houten, the Chair of the Nursing Education program, talked about being scared back in the fall teaching on campus because the virus was still very unknown. Now, she said it feels far more comfortable.
“It was scary back in the fall when we weren’t sure about the guidelines and how the virus was spread,” said Van Houten. “But now that we have vaccines and we know how the virus is spread and we know what precautions to take and we are all following those precautions, it makes us feel a lot safer.”
Wish social distancing protocols in place along with wearing masks and face shields, Van Houten talked about feeling safe in class with all of her students. She is optimistic about the future and believes students should return to campus next semester if done correctly.
“I feel like a hybrid type of model is probably the best at this time until everyone could be vaccinated, and my personal opinion is to make the vaccine a requirement for all students and teachers.” said Van Houten. “That’s my personal opinion, I do understand there are reasons why some people cannot get the vaccine, but if we could make it a requirement then we could be much safer on campus.”
There are some minor issues for students and the way they are affected in the classroom. Steven, a first-year student in the nursing program, brought up a tiny struggle he has in class.
“It’s a little different being back on campus,” said Steven, who declined to use his last name due to privacy concerns. “It is fine though, I guess, because you have to wear masks and a face shield and you have to speak up because of the masks covering your mouth, but overall it’s fine, at least for me in the nursing program it’s been safe. You have [to] social distance and stuff.”
- OnCampusLearningPic: Matthew Baker / The Telescope | All Rights Reserved