If you’re a member of the Keene State community, you’re probably already aware that the college has recently switched over to some new guidelines for students and faculty in regards to COVID-19. These guidelines were shared, and stressed, in an email from President Melinda Treadwell to the community on February 23.
Within the email, students and faculty were informed that COVID testing will take place twice a week for all students and staff. In addition, the email states, “Students will be required to wear a surgical mask, or better… in classrooms.” The school is moving away from the reusable masks that were distributed for the fall semester. . Many students have chosen to double up on masks by wearing the disposable surgical masks underneath a reusable one.
Students are adapting to the new policies rather quickly. In regards to the new mask policy, first-year student-athlete Ellie Kopicko said, “It really doesn’t make a difference.”
First-year Maya Baker agreed with her. Both girls shared this same attitude towards the switch to bi-weekly testing. When asked about how safe they feel on campus, Kopicko said she felt, “pretty safe, compared to other schools; like a 9/10,” which was met with head nods from Baker. “I think we will make it to the end of the semester,” noted Baker. Kopicko was quick to chime in with, “We hope so, at least!”
With colleges closing all around New Hampshire, and all over the country, the question of how long students will be allowed to stay on campus is one that seems to remain in the back of all minds here at Keene.
The students at the student center information desk, Michael Bullen, Aurora Caraballo, Allison Jones had some opinions toward the whole situation. The group’s attitude likely resonates with most of the school population. Bullen commented about testing: “It’s more streamlined from last semester, the lines move a lot faster,” to which the group agreed.
The only point of disagreement came from a question about off-campus students. “Off-campus students don’t care,” said Jones, “They’re causing a lot of the spike [in cases].”
Jones added, “I feel like off-campus students should really just be full-remote, honestly.”
Caraballo, an off-campus student herself, spoke up, “I literally couldn’t. I’m a journalism major and a lot of my classes aren’t available online. I have to be here.”
For this group, as far as safety was concerned, they were all in agreement. Bullen echoed sentiments heard from Baker and Kopicko: “[I feel] pretty safe compared to the other schools.”
The Desk Assistant (DA) job has students sit at desks in the dorm building and check for the on-campus IDs and the wristbands that indicate an up-to-date testing status. When asked about opinions regarding the DAs, Jones said, “If people want to see their off-campus friends then they can do it off-campus. It doesn’t really seem like a big deal [that off-campus students aren’t allowed in the dorms].”
Baker and Kopicko, while noting that they understood the position was to maintain safety on campus, felt that “the desk assistants are kind of annoying.”
“It’s like the same three desk assistants every time and they never remember anybody. At this point, you should kind of recognize some of the people who live there,” said Kopicko.
It would seem that it is generally agreed upon, at least from this small sample, that all of the COVID guidelines we’re currently dealing with are all there in an effort to keep campus safe. Some of the aspects of living with COVID and going to school are annoying to some, but people are generally having an okay time dealing with them. Rolling with the punches as they come, surely, many are still unsure about whether we will be able to do so, but to echo the words of Kopicko, “We hope so, at least!”
Abigail Dix can be contacted at: