The Jambar Question: YSU Students Respond to COVID-19 Changes

By Joseph Chapman

Jambar reporter Joseph Chapman interviews Chris Matthews, a senior sociology major, and discusses YSU’s reaction to COVID-19 and newly introduced protocols. Photo by Kelcey Norris/The Jambar

Everything from classes to parties have seen big changes this year. This week I hit the streets to ask my fellow Penguins how they coped during lockdown this summer and how they feel about the current semester with the newly imposed restrictions.

Shane Trevor, a sophomore journalism major, praised the mask policy enforced by the university. 

“So far, I don’t see a whole lot of people not wearing masks. I think it’s a majority. For the most part, I think, you know, pretty much every building I go into, people are doing their part,” he said. “I have a science lab as well. And I know they’re taking super special care with that, wearing gloves all the time and using disinfectant.” 

He was unsure about whether or not he trusts the new contact tracing system. 

“You never know, like, how accurate is it? Did someone come into contact with somebody? Did they take the mask off for a second? You know, there’s so many factors that I feel like there’s potential there for it to work, but I wouldn’t place my faith in it.”

Chris Matthews, a senior sociology major, wishes everyone had the same access to testing as he does as an athlete on the diving team. 

“[The university] is more worried about the symptoms,” Matthews said. “As long as you don’t have the symptoms, they just assume that you don’t have it. I kind of would have liked everyone on campus, like students to be tested before we came back.”

For Matthews, adapting to the new modalities has been a struggle.

“It has thrown my schedule way off,” he said. “And I’m still trying to get used to the schedule. Four weeks in school, five weeks, I’m still getting used to all the changes and everything. So it’s been interesting. It’s definitely been hard.”

Anjali Gopalakrishnan, a junior finance major, criticized the new agile-hybrid modality. 

“I kind of wish that they either had [classes] in-person or not at all. I mean, coming to campus once a week, especially [with] commuter students and stuff, I don’t think it helps the spread,” she said. “You’re at home and then you have to come to campus, like once a week. I just feel like that adds.” 

She also added she would prefer if professors chose one platform to rely on for online class rather than choosing from a plethora of software including Blackboard, Cisco Webex and Zoom.

Taylor Jones, a freshman business management major, is optimistic the university’s effort to stop the spread of the disease will allow her to play lacrosse games at YSU soon. 

“We still have to wear the mask. So it’s really sweaty and awful,” she said. “But hopefully we don’t have to wear those anymore. But yeah, I mean, my spring season last year got canceled so it really sucked. And hopefully we get to play this spring.” 

Jones also touched on the university’s response to partying. 

“They were responding well to parties and making sure they weren’t, you know, happening after that big one happened. I mean, I went to that one, but I learned my lesson because everyone —everyone— got in trouble,” she said. “I play lacrosse and after the party happened, we couldn’t practice for two weeks, and I couldn’t go on the field and stuff. So it really sucked … but now we’re back.”