By Alexia Juarez–
Incoming and current U of L students are starting out the fall semester with in-person classes and activities. This is the first step in returning to a “normal” campus atmosphere since the outbreak over a year ago.
To support this atmosphere, U of L has laid out several protocols to contain the widespread virus and keep students and university members safe.
Since Aug. 9, all university members have been required to wear a mask in public and indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
Indoor spaces are defined as any space inside a campus building which is not a private room or office. This includes classrooms, academic labs, study, and restroom areas, along with libraries and hallways. This is understandable, due to the rising cases in Kentucky.
According to the New York Times, Jefferson County’s 7-day average was about 479 cases per day from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6. Given Louisville’s population, it is imperative that students and faculty enforce this policy to contain the virus and return to campus life.
Unvaccinated university members are required to be tested regularly. There are three required testing periods: Aug. 17 to 27, Sept. 7 to 17, and Oct. 6 to 15.
This is a big step that U of L has taken in their return to normal — or as normal as it can be. Given that the pandemic has gone on for more than a year and a half, several students had not been on campus since the start of the outbreak.
Given these announcements, it’s nice to have some hope for incoming and current students to enjoy campus life while balancing the unpredictability of the pandemic. It’s not only a silver lining for students, but for faculty as well.
Professors will no longer have to struggle in online lectures for the desired student engagement –which is lacking in all online courses — or with the unbearable technical difficulties. These in-person classes bring back the socialization that some may have lost during this pandemic.
For incoming freshmen, this may seem overwhelming. However, with the end goal in mind — to keep our U of L community safe and to have a normal in person education experience as much as possible — these protocols are the key to keeping the virus under control and ensuring students get the most out of their college experience.