Students express concern about COVID-19 transmission in classes

Nora+Rafaty+and+Hulya+Goodwin%2C+students+in+LAS%2C+study+in+the+upstairs+lounge+of+Ikenberry+Commons+on+Sept.+18+while+wearing+masks.+Many+students+share+a+concern+with+COVID-19+being+spread+around+in-person+classes.

Cameron Krasucki

Nora Rafaty and Hulya Goodwin, students in LAS, study in the upstairs lounge of Ikenberry Commons on Sept. 18 while wearing masks. Many students share a concern with COVID-19 being spread around in-person classes.

By Olivia Orlandi, Staff Writer

In-person classes have resumed this semester, but with COVID-19 still being spread, many students do not feel safe in their classes under current University guidelines.

Even with the mask mandate in University buildings, students are still able to attend bars and other social gatherings as normal. 

Many students said this is exciting for them since there haven’t been many in-person classes since the start of the pandemic. Students are also able to attend RSO meetings and University activities like sporting events in person.

Many students have at least one person in their classes that have tested positive for COVID-19. Abby Svenson, senior in Business, said that her professors haven’t been canceling class due to positive tests from students.

“Most of my professors are just saying ‘If you get COVID, don’t come,’ and continuing on with classes as normal,” Svenson said. 

Nicole Koruna, senior in Engineering, feels as though the responsibility to cancel classes to keep students safe falls on professors.

“I have smaller classes, but we do group projects, and I kind of feel like if someone gets COVID, the professors should have some sort of concern for students by canceling classes for two weeks,” Koruna said. “Or even just giving us an online option to make our own decisions.”

Students are also finding that their Safer Illinois apps are not being checked as frequently as the University says they will be.

“I walk in half the buildings and they don’t check it,” Koruna said. “It doesn’t exactly make me feel great, especially when people are walking around the buildings without their masks on.” 

Similarly, Svenson says her building access gets checked about one-fourth of the time she enters a University building.

“Masking is also a huge worry for students,” Svenson said. “Some kids will eat during class, and the professors will tell them to put it back on afterwards, but it just feels like ‘Well if they’re going to have it off half of the class, what’s the point?’” 

Koruna said she thinks there should still be some mandated form of testing.

“Students might just think they have a cold and not go get tested or still come to classes because it’s been so ingrained in our brains that we can’t miss class,” Koruna said. “Leaving it up to the discretion of the students kind of makes me nervous.”

Lauren Bulak, senior in LAS, expressed her surprise at the lack of online options for classes.

“I think it should be up to the students to decide whether or not they feel comfortable attending classes in person,” Bulak said. “Some people have families that are still at risk and going in person could put them in danger — that’s why I think there needs to be some more online classes.” 

Koruna had similar thoughts on protecting families.

“Students could have family members unable to get the vaccine and in-person classes, where someone could test positive, could be really bad,” she said.

While there has been no talk of moving online this semester, Koruna thinks after Thanksgiving break that might be the best option.

“I didn’t even know cases were spiking until my roommate told me,” she said. “It honestly might be the best option to go online after the break since most people will be traveling.” 

Lauren Bulak, on the other hand, thinks that the University will be sticking out the semester. 

“I think with the system they’ve implemented of requiring the vaccine and if you’re not yet fully vaccinated required testing, we’ll end up in person all year,” Bulak said. 

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