Over the past year, Albion College has had a significant change in COVID-19 procedures and precautions.
Last year, students needed to get permission to go off campus, were limited in their grocery options and were required to wear masks in all Albion College buildings.
While the mask mandate is still in effect, most of the restrictions in place last year are no longer in effect. Students have mixed reactions to the change in regulations.
“I feel like they’re not taking things as seriously,” said Alexandra Gavirio, Fort Worth, TX sophomore. “I mean we still have the masks going on, but I feel like things should be taken a bit more seriously.”
Collin Goodnow, Grosse Pointe senior, believes that the lessening of restrictions has served to build a better community.
“We’re allowed to eat in Baldwin which is good, it brings people together and builds the community,” said Goodnow. “I would say I still think there are a lot of strict rules around social events, and I think that doesn’t help bring the community together because it’s preventing people from being around one another which is really what we want to do.”
Testing played a major role in keeping Albion in person last year, with student athletes being tested biweekly and before competition, and other students tested every two to three weeks. Now, some students find it difficult to get access to testing when they learn they are a close contact.
“I’ve heard that a lot of people are struggling to get in contact with testing if they are not showing symptoms,” said Abigail Coleman, Holland sophomore. “People who are in close contact are being sent to Oaklawn who are then being sent to Washington Gardner, and Washington Gardner is then getting frustrated.”
An outbreak in COVID-19 cases on campus occurred recently. According to the Together Safely page on the Albion College website, a total of 56 positive cases have been reported on campus since Aug. 30. As of Sept. 24, cases have dropped to 9 active cases, with 5 in quarantine on campus.
Many point to the social events on campus as reasoning for the outbreak. However, Goodnow argues that these events have been more helpful to students than harmful and that there are still restrictions around these events.
“We’re down from 35 to nine which is good,” said Goodnow. “Some might say it is the social events that caused the outbreak, but people have been staying safe as the numbers have dropped.”
Some students say that an outbreak this early into the academic year was inevitable with there still being unvaccinated students on campus.
“I saw that [the outbreak] coming because apparently there’s still around 200 unvaccinated students on campus,” said Gavirio, “The only thing keeping us from COVID is the masks.”