By Emma Robinson, Co-Editor-In-Chief
Over 54 percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Sept.10. The New York population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine is currently 69 percent.
According to the Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis poll, 23 percent of Americans believe that the worst of the pandemic is over.
“I think that people are acting like COVID-19 is over when it’s not,” junior health sciences major Miranda Ruiz said. “Lots of people are still dying each day. I lost two of my uncles only a month ago due to coronavirus.”
Before the semester started, Chief Administrative Officer Joseph L. Schaefer announced in an email to the university on Aug. 2 that LIU is requiring all staff, faculty and students to require proof of vaccination to be on campus. Some religious and medical exemptions have been made, and those students must be tested for coronavirus weekly.
“The resurgence of the pandemic, fueled by the highly contagious and more deadly Delta variant, leads us to an obvious conclusion,” Schaefer said. “It is one that more than 600 other universities and counting have reached. Our duty to you and your responsibility to the greater community requires the establishment of a mandatory vaccination policy.”
Classes and numerous events will be held in person this semester. And while the university is requiring masks for some indoor events, like classes, as a precaution in reducing the spread of the Delta variant, students have mixed feelings about their safety on campus.
“I believe they are implementing safety measures as best as they can, but we should all still be masking up,” junior musical theatre major Hannah Winston said. “But, I think that the school should be providing case numbers online, give sanitizing wipes for certain spaces, have a set or maximum number of people allowed in certain spaces, make sure we wipe down certain spaces individually after they have been in use, and have people mask up indoors even if they are vaccinated. I feel safe knowing that I took the precautions that are best fit for me to be as safe as possible. I’ve always felt safe after my dose of the vaccine.”
While it is school policy to wear a mask indoors on campus, it is often not enforced.
“I’d say only about three-quarters of students in my classes wear a mask. I don’t, some of my professors don’t,” junior marketing major Jacob Shamah said.
Senior nursing major Antonette Dalfino has had a different experience with students wearing masks in her classes.
“I have not been to one class where someone wasn’t wearing their masks, which I like to see,” she said. “I personally want to protect as many people as I could so even though I was looking forward to not wearing the masks, I will do what I must so that I can do my part to slow the spread of COVID.”
Students are thrilled to have more events in person this semester after almost a year and a half of virtual events.
“Having events in person again is a step back to normalcy,” Shamah said. “The Move It Monday event had a few bouncy houses, wipe out and a ladder climb with a smoothie and coffee cart to cool off with. It was fun to reconnect with old friends, as well as hang out in between classes. I’d say it was a pretty big turnout.”
Ruiz looks forward to more in-person events.
“I’m looking forward to the school year and the in-person events that are taking place. Particularly, the Latino and LGBT events planned for this semester,” she said. “I’m also excited for my lab job in the chemistry department, especially because it’s in-person and I get to actually get to work hands-on in the lab and with the students.”
Official reports of positive coronavirus cases on campus are not available at this time.