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Students discuss wearing masks in class

As classes move back to in person for the Fall semester, masks are required in all shared, indoor spaces on campus for all individuals (vaccinated or not) consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, according to Westminster’s new mask and vaccine requirements page. Westminster College requires everyone, including contractors and visitors, to follow its guidelines when on campus, according to its coronavirus (COVID-19) resources page

Wyatt Bringhurst, a senior business management major, came to Westminster as a transfer student in Fall 2020.

Bringhurst said he was skeptical at first about coming back to campus when Dr. Glenn Smith, the dean of students and vice president for student affairs, released an announcement Aug. 5 of the current mask and vaccine requirement before the Fall semester started. 

Wyatt Bringhurst, a senior business management major, sits outside the north side of Walker Hall in front of the mailroom at Westminster College Sept. 17. “Being right next to each other [in the classroom] kind of threw me off a little bit, but I think having the [mask] and [vaccine] requirement made it feel like it was a lot safer than just sitting there without masks,” Bringhurst said. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Covington.

“To be honest, at first, I was a little skeptical when [the new mask and vaccine requirement announcement] came out a couple weeks before the Fall semester,” Bringhurst said. “Throughout the entire summer [of 2021], it was either vaxxed or masked [while on campus.]”

Bringhurst said that now he is back in the classroom after a month, it has been really good.

“Being able to come back to campus now after having transferred in the Fall, has really been a help […] Being masked [and knowing there’s a vaccine requirement] at the same time has really reduced my anxiety about going to class,” Bringhurst said. .

Adrianna Franco, a senior communication major, said she was ready to return to campus.

“I missed the community and seeing my friends and people I’ve built connections with over the last three years,” Franco said.  

Adrianna Franco, a senior communication major, works on an assignment in class with a mask on in room 103 of the Dick Science Building at Westminster College Sept. 22. “I think [the mask requirement] gives everyone the confidence to feel safe in the classroom,” Franco said. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Covington.

Franco said she feels safer being back in the classroom while wearing a mask, especially during cold season.

“I think with it being fall time, when you hear someone cough in class, and we are wearing masks, I do feel a little bit better,” Franco said.

Both Bringhurst and Franco said they have not had any negative firsthand experiences with wearing a mask in class.

“One of the main things that I’ve loved about this time is how understanding the faculty are and how much they’re willing to adapt,” Bringhurst said.

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