The first-day college jitters are compounded by mask mandates on campus. While many students are excited to be on campus, an uncertainty only three months ago, the new COVID-19 guidelines and the looming mask policies do not hold the same weight.
While most students agree that masks provide an extra layer of protection, few are eager to wear the fabric.
Natalie Schenk, a Business major, said she was “glad to be back on campus.” But Schenk is quick to remind that while wearing masks can be annoying, “you can never be too careful.”
Fellow student Jadiel Soto – Perez, a Nursing major, agrees with Schenk, saying, “I mean I do like it (mask mandate). I think it enforces us to follow the rules, and not everyone is vaccinated. Some people say that they’re vaccinated, and they’re not. So, it helps keep everyone safe. Young people, old people, everyone.”
Not all students felt the same about masking-up. “I think it should be up to each student and instructor,” commented Ellen Miller, also a Nursing major. “We all know about it by now and know how to stay safe.”
Katarina Oudeman, a Business Associate of Arts major, admitted that the mask mandate creates a sense of safety. “There are so many new people and new classes. Attempting to socialize is very difficult, especially with masks.” With the new delta of the COVID-19 variant looming, some people may be nervous about coming back. “I’m not nervous at all,” said Oudeman, “we’re wearing masks anyway.”
Brandon Neiding, a Business major, said, “My mental health took a huge hit. Being alone and not being able to see my friends was very hard on me and caused some depression.” Oudeman’s, anxiety heightened as the vaccine came out. “At first, I was nervous because I thought it was rushed. But now that it’s been around for a few months, I feel much better about it.”
Cody Devos, a freshman, believes that he will be “fine” because he has received the vaccine and also plans on keeping a far distance from other students when possible. He said LCCC had done a great job with handling the entire situation and was not concerned that he might be at any risk.
This was also the same situation for Emily Maslow, another student, who also plans on being as “careful and possible” while going around campus, and in classes. Emily had the vaccine, which made coming back to in-person classes safer.
Steven Hastings, a Physical Science major, said that he is “sick of it” when asked about the mask mandate. Hastings said the mask mandate is “something that needed to be done” even if he isn’t a fan of it.
Zachary Schuster, another student at Lorain County Community College, shared that he “doesn’t wear his mask anywhere but at the college and his workplace.”
Blake Jarvis, a third-year student, said that it didn’t bother him to wear the masks again.
Julie Rivera, a Fine Arts major, said the mask “gets in the way of my piercings which is annoying.” However, she said being quarantined during the height of the pandemic made her “feel alone. I am actually happy to be back on campus because it will help my GPA.”
JRNM 151 students James Boron, Owen Cooper, Lauren Hoffman, Helen Lewis, Hayden Lowstetter, Christina Yuhasz and James Wade contributed to the story.