FILE - In this Sept. 2, 202, file photo, a woman wears a mask as she walks on campus at San Diego State University in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

COVID-19 Precautions: Do Students On-Campus Really Feel Safe?

By Luke Dammann

CHATTANOOGA, TN (mocsnews.com) After multiple mask mandates, rulings and new safety precautions, half of the college semester is now complete with one major question to ask: do students actually feel safe?

            Although there have been plenty of guidelines put into effect on college campuses, students with in-person classes still have to go out in public and interact with classmates and faculty, potentially exposing themselves and others to the virus.

            No one could’ve predicted how the 2020 Spring semester would unfold the way that it did, with UTC and other schools across the country cancelling physical classes and making the switch to strictly-online.  

            The current 2020 Fall semester has marked new territory for college campuses, with unprecedented rules and regulations being put into place. Masks, Zoom calls, curfews, limited seating and sanitization stations have all become common place for students now.

            Sure, schools and organizations alike are doing the right thing by implementing these safety protocols, but do the students who have to deal with the changes actually feel any safer?  

            “I have become pretty used to wearing a mask,” says Zach Read, a civil engineering major here at UTC, “I feel pretty safe and I think [the school] has taken adequate precautions for the Coronavirus.”

            UTC isn’t the only school with drastic changes to its on-campus policies. Other local Tennessee area-colleges like Chattanooga State, Lee University and Tennessee Technical College have all adapted to country-wide changes to campus life and facilities.  

            “Everyone is fairly accepting of the rules and everything put into place has been comforting,” says Hallie Sneed, a Junior at Lee University, going onto express how appreciative she was that her school required mask-wearing even though the mandate had expired in Bradley County. As of August 27th, Lee University has had 14 confirmed cases of the virus.

            “I think that [Tennessee Tech] is making a good effort in trying to protect its students,” says Ben Wishart, a sophomore at the school, “The main problems come from students who don’t listen to the guidelines and people who don’t wear their masks.”

            Overall, UTC has avoided any “major” outbreaks of the virus, but the number of confirmed cases is still in the hundreds. According to the school’s website, a little over 400 people, including both students and faculty have contracted and recovered from COVID-19 since June 1.

            It is hard to tell what future semesters look like for UTC and its students, with events and commencement ceremonies already being postponed or becoming entirely virtual. The only thing there is to do is adapt

            For more information and details regarding COVID-19 and safety precautions, visit the school’s page at www.utc.edu/coronavirus.com

About Luke Dammann

Luke Dammann is a senior at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is majoring in communications, with a minor in criminal justice.

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