Indiana Daily Student

IU faculty members, students share concerns with classroom COVID-19 protocols

<p>Students wait for the start of their class on Aug. 23, 2021, in Wylie Hall. As the semester progresses and COVID-19 cases fluctuate in Indiana, IU students and faculty members have expressed concerns regarding IU’s current COVID-19 protocols. </p>

Students wait for the start of their class on Aug. 23, 2021, in Wylie Hall. As the semester progresses and COVID-19 cases fluctuate in Indiana, IU students and faculty members have expressed concerns regarding IU’s current COVID-19 protocols.

As the semester progresses and COVID-19 cases fluctuate, IU students and faculty express concerns regarding IU’s COVID-19 protocols and the lack of distancing in classrooms.

IU freshman MaKiya Tramil said she began feeling fatigued and nauseous a week after arriving on-campus. After getting COVID-19 tested at the IU Student Health Center, she said she was notified she contracted COVID-19, but she was unaware of IU’s COVID-19 regulations.

“When I began feeling sick, it was not clear on what I should do, especially as someone who is vaccinated,” Tramil said.

Sociology Department Chair Professor Patricia McManus said the faculty members in her department are concerned for the well-being of immunocompromised family members because of the lack of social distancing in crowded classrooms while the delta variant is still prevalent.

McManus said the sociology department is urging students to stay home if they are feeling sick or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.

"Students are taking heed and doing the right thing,” McManus said. “They are complying by wearing their masks and staying home when they need to.”

According to the IU website, mitigation testing is only a requirement for people who are not fully vaccinated. Mitigation tests are only offered on campus at the School of Public Health, but McManus said she wanted mitigation testing to be offered at more places such as the Indiana Memorial Union and the IU Auditorium.

McManus said the number of COVID-19 cases in Monroe County is unclear because mitigation testing is not being completed by a large portion of the community.

According to the IU Dashboard, 88.9% of people at IU have received the COVID-19 vaccination.

IU political science professor Regina Smyth said, colleagues of hers who work at other institutions that do not have a mask mandate feel unsafe and are contracting COVID-19 at high rates.

“I feel quite grateful that IU was very mindful of the fact that there are people in the university community who are compromised or live with young children,” Smyth said.

Even though Smyth said she was grateful for some parts of the IU COVID-19 protocol, she said she disliked other aspects of the policy especially because makes it difficult to social distance in class.

“It can be frustrating because when I am standing up in front of the class, I am recognizing as time goes on people are being less stringent about masks,” Smyth said 

Smyth said that when she notices when a student's mask has fallen, she gestures for them to pull it up. However, there is one student in her who complies very reluctantly with the mask mandate.

IU sociology professor Jessica Calarco conducted a survey asking students to address their current feelings about campus and life in general in one of her courses.

More than 40% of students out of 196 said they were somewhat concerned of being possibly infected or reinfected with COVID-19.

Despite the concerns of faculty members and students, IU Chief Health Officer Dr. Aaron Carroll believes the campus is very safe.

“Indiana University is currently one of the safest places in Indiana in regards to COVID-19. " Carroll said. “Majority of students and faculty at IU are vaccinated.”

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