With the semester drawing to a close and commencement being planned, the question must be asked: What will next semester look like for students and faculty at Keene State College?
Students and faculty around campus are saying they are hopeful for the future of learning and campus life. However, they also say they expect COVID-19 to continue to influence the general functioning of the college. Vaccines seem to be playing a key part for the campus community’s hopes.
Director of Strategic Communications, Kelly Ricaurte, said, “The goal is to be more in-person.” As more people are getting vaccinated over the summer Ricaurte is looking forward to, “More in-person classes, more in-person student activities, more in-person athletic event opportunities.” For Ricaurte, vaccines will change the day-to-day life of campus and will start putting Keene State back to normal, “We are also looking at the option to not require surveillance testing for COVID-19.” It will be a lengthy process to revert the campus back to a more normal looking semester but Ricaurte is aware of this, “It will take some time to get completely there, but we’re taking steps.”
Students are also hopeful for more in-person events for the Fall 2021 semester. Reece Carpenter, a first-year at Keene State said, “I hope that there will be more people and events outside and inside so that we can meet multiple people.” She is excited to meet new people instead of just the people in the residence halls, “I think we have all met the same kids in our halls and it felt a bit limiting.” Carpenter does not think Keene State will be COVID-19 free in the fall as she said, “I think that we all hope COVID will be gone next semester, but in reality, it won’t be.” However, she is still hopeful for the in-person events, “I’m hoping the school can still manage to have events while still dealing with COVID,” said Carpenter. More and more students across campus are getting COVID-19 vaccines and Carpenter is among them. “I have my first vaccination and my second one is scheduled. I advise everyone to get vaccinated!”
Dr. Wayne Hartz, KSC’s COVID-19 Project Team Leader, is another faculty member who says that vaccines are key to getting the college back to normal. “If we don’t have enough people vaccinated, we’re going to be back in a mess,” said Hartz. However, for next semester Hartz said, “I think it’s going to be really great.”
Hartz also went on to talk about some future legislation for the State of New Hampshire as well as the college. “The state government is still considering legislation to forebode businesses and institutions from requiring the vaccine,” said Hartz. For the college, Hartz mentioned that the idea of paying for mandatory tests was passed around. “What happens if in the fall, you prove to us you’re vaccinated, or we’re going to charge you.” Hartz did go on to say that, “the idea has been floated,” but he was not sure the idea would come into effect. “Whether or not it makes it I kind of doubt it because we’re in the business of serving students.”
Ben Field can be contacted at: