With the success of the fall semester in the books, many students including myself saw no reason to expect any different from the spring, but, as we get further into the swing of things, that assumption has proven to be false.
This statement comes with the email sent Tuesday, February 23, by President Treadwell in which new school guidelines regarding COVID-19 will be enforced.
These two new guidelines include the wearing of a surgical mask or better (for example, an N95 or KN95 mask), along with weekly testing turning into bi-weekly testing.
To be frank, I don’t have any hot take here or some scolding opinion that nobody has ever heard before, but I very much think that what the school is doing is necessary. I believe this because of the fact that COVID is spreading incredibly fast this time around, with the most recent weekly results, as of the writing of this article, hitting a high of 42 positive cases amongst the Keene State College community. This is incredibly concerning and, quite honestly, I don’t understand the real difference this time around because I would have guessed people are doing just about the same things they were already doing previously, for better or worse.
When it comes to the bi-weekly testing, it’s a slight inconvenience, but, thanks to the streamlining of testing we’ve seen since the start of the year, testing-time shouldn’t take up more than a half-hour of your time. In addition, results come back much sooner than they did last semester with most people receiving them within 24 hours.
On top of all of this, there are extensive free hours for anybody to get tested if your time-slot doesn’t work for you, so there’s really not much to complain about.
For me, I also am always a little paranoid about contracting COVID, especially during the school year so I’m sure it’s a nice peace-of-mind for many others like me.
On the other hand, regarding the new masking rules, I was a little skeptical at first, thinking everybody would be wearing the very aesthetically unappealing duck masks. I then found out, however, that it is simply the blue or black disposable masks that many of us have been wearing already.
One thing I’m a little weary about is communication, due to the fact that we were all being told the cloth masks were safer back in the fall. Other than that, I really don’t mind any of these new additions because they really don’t change much and will hopefully help toward keeping us on campus.
This brings me to my somewhat preach-y but very necessary portion of this article, which is: we all need to do our parts. The school has made this whole process incredibly easy and simple for students and now we just need to not have large gatherings, off or on-campus. This means avoiding 30-person dorm parties as well as houses packed to the brim with maskless people.
Winter break this year had to be excessively long and I’m willing to bet most of us don’t want to have this semester ruined before it can even start. I’m sick of not being able to live my life, see my friends and meet new people. Although we still can’t have a full college experience, what we have right now is better than everybody just being cooped up in their homes attending classes remotely.
Cristian Valentin can be contacted at: