How do students feel about COVID-19 protocols for the semester? 

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Members of the UConn Roundnet team practice Spikeball on the Student Union lawn on Wednesday. Almost all activities are back in person and very few restrictions are in place regarding masking and social distancing. Photo by Emily O’Bannon/The Daily Campus.

As students return to the University of Connecticut for the Fall 2022 semester, some say they have noticed a significant decrease in the COVID-19 rules and regulations since the pandemic began in 2020. 

This will be the first semester in two years that students are not required to wear masks in most buildings and for transportation on campus, with the exception of the Student Health and Wellness and other medical treatment buildings, according to the university’s COVID-19 campus guidelines webpage. Students also do not need to abide by the six feet social distancing regulation, and classrooms and dormitories have returned to full capacity.  

Ross Bernstein, a seventh-semester physiology and neurobiology major, experienced college life for a semester and a half before the COVID-19 pandemic. He said this fall 2022 semester is beginning to feel how it was before the pandemic.  

“This semester is very different,” Bernstein said. “It feels nostalgic. I only had one and a half semesters pre-COVID-19, and that was my only college experience, so it feels like we’re back to what UConn was. Housing is back to full capacity, masks are recommended, not required and they got rid of to-go boxes in the dining hall.”  

Bernstein stressed that, although campus is beginning to return to the normalcy felt before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that the pandemic is still happening, and people will still be getting sick. 

“I think, for my enjoyment of college, the lack of COVID-19 regulations is a good thing, but I don’t know how good it is for the pandemic,” Bernstein continued. “I think the biggest thing is, if they’re going to relax all the rules, then they should be increasing all the testing. During the first semester back with COVID-19, you could get a test whenever you wanted, but since then they’ve cut it down.”  

Trying to offer a normal college experience while also being cautious and keeping person-to-person contact and disease spread low is a difficult balance for the university, said students like Jess Meyers, a fifth-semester communications major.  

Meyers explained that, while it is important for UConn to implement rules to keep students safe, it is also important that students are able to get a traditional college experience.  

“There’s definitely more the university could be doing, but at the same time, I don’t think they need to go crazy and put in all the rules from 2020 because students already have lost so much time at college,” Meyers said. “A lot of people now say ‘I didn’t have a freshmen year,’ so trying to find a balance between making sure students are safe and healthy but also making sure students are having a good time and actually want to be here.”  

Students also do not seem as worried about the threat of COVID-19 because of UConn’s requirement for faculty and students to be vaccinated in order to live on campus. Jenna Levenson, a fifth-semester applied mathematics major, spoke about how being vaccinated and how most of the population at UConn being young adults makes her feel as though she is not at a high risk of spreading or becoming infected with a severe illness.  

“It seems a little less strict because everyone is vaccinated and a lot of people have gotten it and now have immunity. The university has already taken a lot of precautions, so now we can loosen up a little, since the numbers are low,” Levenson said.  

Students, like ninth-semester photography major Kayla Shemesh, also said being able to interact face-to-face with one another again is helping their mental health and creating a positive environment on campus. 

“I honestly love it, I missed seeing people’s faces. It’s normal, or the idea of normal is back. For my mental health, it’s nice to see people’s faces. It’s also nice to know people feel comfortable to wear a mask or to not wear one,” Shemesh said.  

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