Students were abuzz this past week as one question filtered through many conversations: “So, you getting the vaccine?”
In the first half of April 2021, Northwestern released an announcement: there would be a vaccination clinic on campus on Thursday, April 8, followed by the eye-catching tagline, “When campus reaches 70 percent vaccination, the mask mandate goes away!”
The clinic took place in Ramaker Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nurses from Orange City Area Health System helped administer the vaccine.
On the day of the vaccination clinic, Ramaker was the most popular building on campus. Many students reported near the beginning, making the first hour the busiest.
Six hundred vaccines were given to the college by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who had distributed them to other post-secondary establishments. Three hundred and eleven students received the vaccine, and 33 faculty and staff showed up as well. Other students and faculty have already begun their vaccination journey with Moderna or Pfizer, and others have decided not to receive the vaccine until later.
When it comes to next year’s pandemic restrictions and campus guidelines, students are eager to find out more. The odd mix of exhaustion and caution in the next steps is a shared feeling across the student body in this stage.
Senior BTS major Kelsay Parrott said, “A lot of the treatment and vaccines have become political, making everything not go as well. It’s hard to put into direct words how I feel about this stage as there is still a lot of concern, but also we are all just wanting to get back to whatever ‘normalcy’ looks like now.”
However, students have said they are still willing to wear masks if the environment or people who inhabit it would favor it.
“I would love to stop worrying about social distancing and overcleaning surfaces; However, high traffic areas still need to be kept clean,” Junior music major Samantha Monsma said, “I would totally understand wanting to be rid of the masks, but I would be one who would not get rid of their masks.”
Professors are eager to find out how matters will progress as well.
Professor John Vonder Bruegge dean of arts and humanities and professor in the BTS department said, “I’m ready to take the mask off and wear unfogged glasses again. If the mandate is lifted and I’m around someone who prefers me to wear a mask, though, I’d be happy to oblige. If sacrifices were ranked from 0 to 10, mask-wearing is a 0.1.”
This pandemic has affected the roots of many of us, and the shared emotion of caution and exhaustion has been felt by all.
President Christy said, “We look forward to having no more mask mandates, Raider Check or quarantines after this academic year.”
As the year progresses, let us pray together and find hope that those words can remain a standing truth.