Students Reflect on COVID Policies, Experiences during Pandemic

Pat French

An August spike in Coronavirus cases in Wabash County had effects on Manchester University students as the semester was beginning. After a long period of what looked to be recovery lasting from February to August 2021, the school year opened with Wabash County reaching as high as 102 cases in one day. This came after Wabash suffered a total of 4,628 Covid-19 cases and 90 fatalities over the past one and a half years.

Manchester University has kept its policy of masks being worn inside buildings to help combat this. How did this affect first-years’ move in and classes? “It was fairly easy moving onto campus for my first year,” said Marisa Engbrecht. “I think things were pretty normal considering we had to wear masks.

“It’s been harder for me to recognize people I’ve met because I haven’t seen their whole face,” she continued. “I’ve had to ask them what their name is multiple times. It’s somewhat frustrating, but nowhere near as frustrating or uncomfortable as it would be to be at high risk of Covid.”

Savion Hunter, another Manchester student, had Covid before returning to school. “It slowed down every aspect of my life, from relationships to getting a drivers license,” he said. Driving hours, appointments and permit expiration dates all greatly complicate getting a license during the pandemic with quarantine guidelines. “There are just so many things I can’t do without a state issued ID,” Hunter said.

Students recognize the importance of wearing their masks in classrooms and dorms. “It’s definitely different than high school, mask wise,” said Gavin Gleason, first-year. “In the dorms we’re always wearing them and living there; high school was all open area and free space.”

Engbrecht reminds herself why the university follows mask protocol. “ I know that the reason we do it is to keep everyone safe, especially those who are at high risk or have family or friends at high risk,” she said. “Remembering the reason why I always wear my mask correctly helps me feel like we’re doing all of these precautions for a reason.”

Coronavirus cases are more deadly for already at-risk populations like the elderly, but this does not mean that young adults are not at risk. The idea that young adults are less likely to contract coronavirus due to a more robust immune system is a myth. This false confidence can be very harmful, and medical professionals highly suggest that everyone over the age of 18 receive a vaccine to protect them. For more information about vaccine myths and truths, and to find locations to get vaccinated, visit the health services tab under the Manchester University website.