Students thoughts on returning to campus amidst Omicron


Haley Dupre'

Amidst the recent surge of the new COVID-19 variant, many students continue safe protocols outside of the classroom.

With a new year comes the same pandemic. Since the beginning of 2020, the nation has been plagued with the constant threat of COVID-19. Many have managed to stay safe throughout, while others have suffered through multiple rounds of the virus. 

Many feel as if every time the case numbers go down, a new variant of the virus arises. 

Amidst the recent surge of cases brought about by omicron, Southeastern started classes Jan. 19, remaining on schedule. In light of recent circumstances, several students believe the return to campus and classes should have been delayed or gone virtually for a sustained period. Others prefer to be on campus, having grown weary of all the safety protocols put in place.

Sophomore health science major Taylor Hamback said, “Covid is still running rampant and with me being immunocompromised it’s worrying since I’m at a higher risk of catching it. I wish we could’ve waited longer or started online/virtual until it died down, but they went full force into the spring semester.”

Although going virtually for classes may be a safer option, students’ grades and GPAs have drastically been affected in the past by virtual learning. 

Freshman kinesiology major Dane Breazeale said, “I do not think we should have started the semester online. A lot of people, myself included, do not learn well in the online class setting. It is a lot easier to learn and get things done face to face.”

Since the initial release from quarantine and return to school, Southeastern adapted several safety protocols to help prevent continued spread. Aside from the statewide mask mandate and social distancing, Southeastern introduced limited class seating. 

Due to several classes containing a large amount of students and limited number of sizable classrooms, the protocol for social distancing seating is often not strictly enforced. 

Hamback added, “I wish they wouldn’t squish so many people into certain classrooms. I don’t want to be shoulder to shoulder with someone if I don’t have to be.”

Back in October 2021, the most recent mask mandate was lifted for Louisiana. However, Southeastern is still bound by the University of Louisiana System’s mask mandate and still requires them be worn at all times while indoors on campus. Depending on the professor, the mask mandate is another protocol that is loosely enforced. 

Sophomore elementary education major Katelyn Duhe said, “On the shuttle buses that go back and forth between North and South campus, we are not allowed to sit directly next to each other, even though we all wear masks and we are, mostly, all vaccinated, but in classes I sit directly next to the same people. I find some things like that are just contradicting and unnecessary.”

According to the CDC, each of the approved vaccines are safe and effective, therefore Southeastern required all students to be fully vaccinated or complete an exemption form to be able to register for Spring 2022 classes. 

Duhe added, “I received both doses of the Moderna vaccine in 2021 and I feel safe on campus because I trust people stay home when they are sick.”

Even with the protocols in place, some students are concerned about their safety and the possibility of a spike in case numbers now that campus has returned to full capacity.

With cases on the rise, the campus continues its current path with no new addition to safety protocols.