Since the beginning of COVID-19 in March 2020, Weber State University has kept students, faculty and staff up to date on what protocols and safety measures they are taking on campus.
On July 29, WSU sent out an email, stating that 80% of campus population had indicated, in a survey, that they either had been vaccinated or were planning to before fall semester. The email also talked about CDC guidelines with the new surge of COVID cases due to the Delta variant.
“Greater vaccination rates also minimize the potential for disrupting our academic calendar and campus activities,” an email from Director of Public Safety Dane LeBlanc said.
This is good news for those who prefer in-person courses. Senior Niko Valerio said he is glad that WSU is offering many opportunities for the vaccine and that WSU is allowing personal choice for vaccines and masks.
“The only concern that I have is that the university may go back to sending students back online or issuing a mask mandate,” Valerio said. “I struggled having online classes as I felt I wasn’t as connected to the class. My worst grades in the past three years attending were greatly affected by online classes.”
Valerio, along with other students who responded to a question on The Signpost’s Instagram page, had mixed feeling about returning to fall semester. Some responded that they were not worried about returning and are feeling excited about coming back to in-person. Others, including Taylor Hepworth, said they were nervous since many people have not been vaccinated.
As of July 21, COVID testing on campus was also no longer offered. Although, in the email from July 29, LeBlanc stated that WSU would hold vaccination opportunities before students return to school. These were held on several dates in August at the Shepherd Union Atrium on Ogden campus. The Weber Morgan Health Department also held clinics at the Continuing Education Center on Mondays and Wednesdays from Aug. 2 to Aug. 30.
Clinics will also be held in the atrium on Aug. 30 and Sept. 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for those who still have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
The email and information posted to the coronavirus WSU webpage show that new CDC guidelines have been released, stating that all vaccinated adults are recommended to wear face coverings inside when in a high-transmission area. WSU will continue to welcome those who want to wear face coverings, but because of law HB1007 passed last year, WSU can not require face coverings on campus.
On June 15, WSU lifted all COVID-19 restrictions on campus. This meant in-person classes and events would return to a more normal state during the fall 2021 semester. The email, sent out campus-wide on June 14, said that individuals who were not vaccinated were still encouraged to wear face coverings.
Student Body President Ben Ferney said he is looking forward to this semester. Ferney took over Instagram stories on the @weberstudents Instagram in July to take questions for “Ask a Wildcat.” When asked what he was most looking forward to about this year, he responded that he was “stoked for us to be back together.”
Another student, Natalie Pollock, who graduated high school during the pandemic and has spent the beginnings of her college career online, added that while she feels the University has done a good job handling the pandemic, she has reservations about returning to campus.
“I’m happy that more online options have been added, since I’m a commuter student, but I know that not everyone is happy about it. My wish is that these options are still kept while we continue back into the new norm,” Pollock said.
WSU will continue to monitor conditions and keep students and faculty up to date.