By: Kate Young
This week The Samford Crimson polled students on Instagram about how they are feeling as the halfway point of the semester — which has been uniquely defined by a global pandemic — approaches.
Of the 57 students who responded to the poll, 87% said they feel safe in class.
“Everyone is wearing a mask and social distancing. It’s also nice to have wipes available to clean your surroundings,” student Laura Lee Caum commented on the post. “The professors I’ve interacted with are dedicated to wearing masks and ensuring their student’s safety.”
Caum also talked about how her behavior and attitude toward the coronavirus has changed as the semester has progressed, making her less scared and more cautious.
“I am more mindful of sanitizing my devices, like my phone or laptop. In past semesters I would’ve just come home from class and tossed my laptop on my bed without thinking twice. I’m also more mindful of someone’s personal space. I’m a hugger so I usually just hug people when I see them.”
Students who experienced sentinel testing described it as easy and straightforward.
“I was part of the initial trial before the sentinel testing,” student Elizabeth Pridgeon said. It was an easy process.”
After using a swab to collect the sample for herself, she said she waited for about 15 minutes before receiving her results.
Samford faculty echoed the students’ overall confidence in classroom safety.
“I do feel safe in the classroom,” Geoffrey Wright, an English professor, said. “There was an adjustment period during that first week or so of the semester. But since then, from what I’ve seen in buildings and on sidewalks, it’s apparent that students and faculty have understood how vital it is that we all do our part to keep each other safe.”
English Professor Julie Sims Steward outlined the ways in which she had to adapt this semester.
“My teaching style has changed since the pandemic.”Steward said. “I like to put students in problem solving groups and I like to walk around the classroom often to engage the students. These practices have ceased since we have necessary social distancing. I make sure to stay 6 feet away from students, and of course learning to lecture in a mask has been quite a challenge.”
Administration officials said the established COVID-19 guidelines were carefully planned with the community’s safety and in mind.
“We are pleased to hear that students and faculty feel safe in class and elsewhere on our campus,” Vice President for Marketing and Communication Betsy Holloway said. “The university undertook extensive pandemic planning to prepare all areas of our campus for the fall semester. I believe we are seeing the benefits of these carefully developed plans.”
Wright said that as the semester continues, it is important to stay alert and remain cautious.
“I think there’s a natural temptation, as time wears on, to let down our guard,” Wright said. “We can’t afford to get careless.”