COVID-19 has globally impacted practically every facet of life as we know it. One being, of course, our education. As a second-year student with a very limited view as to the nature of “real” college, I find myself noticing how other classes respond to various things on account of their experience at a university—COVID-19 guidelines being no different. As a Resident Assistant (RA) for the First-Year-Experience (FYE), I especially notice how the newest addition, the class of 2025, reacted to the new guidelines.
Often, I am aware of how negligent many students are when it comes to the mask mandate. According to the Case Western Reserve University website, students are required to wear masks in all indoor spaces when they are around other students, except those around roommates. What I have come to notice, however, is that compliance with those regulations is hardly adequate.
For starters, almost every time I have walked through the common rooms in my residential community during both rounds and everyday life, I have had to constantly remind residents to put their masks back on. During my first year, students across campus were not even permitted to congregate in common rooms in pairs.
Beyond that, we were primarily stuck in our rooms with no roommates, attending classes and going to campus events through a computer screen. I wish that I had had the opportunity to attend Tradition and Discover Week, eat with my friends around a table inside Leutner Commons or go to a campus event on Freiberger Field.
I sometimes have trouble understanding the rationale behind the lack of mask-wearing, but I suppose not having had those experiences would result in a carefree (and perhaps ignorant) view of COVID-19 and the strides we must take as a campus to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community as a whole.
However, one would also think that these students would want to maintain their presence on campus and continue to spend time with their newfound college friends while furthering their education on an in-person basis.
Finally, I worry that there will be an influx of COVID-19 cases here, and, as a result, a swift shutdown of the university will occur, ultimately affecting everyone here. This lack of regard for others on campus and their well-being is a bit worrisome, and I hope that the fully-vaccinated status of the majority will ensure that this shutdown does not happen.
I do not say all of this as a generalization of the entire first-year class. Most people I have encountered are incredibly cognizant of the rules and regulations regarding mask mandates and COVID-19 protocols. I do not say this to attack anyone or pass judgment; however, this piece merely responds to my observations as an RA and someone who experienced their freshman year with strict pandemic regulations. I hope that this will at least strike someone and perhaps create more awareness for a problem that could potentially affect the rest of us here.