A new school year brings new classes, friends, events and a new campus life. COVID-19 changed the way campus looked and felt last year but those restrictions have come and gone.
Masks, social distancing and smaller class sizes became the new norm at VSU but that has slowly faded away. Class sizes have returned to full capacity, social distancing stickers have been removed, masks are no longer mandated and quarantining has been phased out.
Talitha Taylor believes that some of the restrictions should have remained in place.
“With everyone coming back together again, masks and social distancing should be required if you are not vaccinated.” Taylor said.
Fully vaccinated students are not mandated to wear masks or social distance if they so choose to attend campus activities. Nonvaccinated students are encouraged to wear masks and social distance still.
The university is strongly encouraging students to receive the vaccine and to mask up until they are fully vaccinated. However, VSU is not requiring students to get vaccinated or tracking vaccination records.
This raised concerns in one student, Destiny Darden.
“Vaccines should be required in order to come onto campus to lessen the chances of exposure,” Darden said.
Spring 2021 semester saw a steady decline in COVID cases and the pandemic seemed to be coming to a close in early summer. Unfortunately, with the news of the Delta variant came a new wave of cases and a spike in positive numbers.
VSU is adhering to the orders of the Georgia Department of Public Health and the executive orders from the governor. Changes may occur based on the recommendations provided by both sources.
According to a third student, Jeremiah Sims, the dining halls should be placed back under COVID restrictions for the comfort of students.
“Removing self-serve parts of the dining hall would help students feel safer because they know germs aren’t being spread onto their food,” Sims said.
The dining halls allow students to grab their own drinks and have stations such as self-serve waffles which prompted students to raise questions about the dining halls COVID safety measures.
Another change on campus is quarantine: Quarantining is not required for fully vaccinated individuals if they have been in close contact with a positive COVID case and show no symptoms.
If an individual has not been vaccinated and came into close contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 then they should self-report in the MyVSU portal.
A final student who would like to remain anonymous believes that the restrictions being somewhat uplifted have given her more a “true college experience.”
It is safe to say that the pandemic has impacted everyone and their experience here on campus.
Some professors may still request that their students wear a mask during class especially if class is held in a smaller room. None of this is mandatory, but restrictions and recommendations are subject to change as guidelines from the Georgia Department of Public Health continue to be updated in this ongoing pandemic.
Story by Madeline Harper, staff writer. Photo courtesy of Kilie Huckleby.