The return to life on campus at Rutgers has entailed new safety measures to help protect the community against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Several students shared their thoughts on these regulations and requirements.
Jaden Cagle-Demario, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said he feels that the current safety measures in place are necessary and that the University’s approach has been thorough. But as the president of a fraternity, he hopes Rutgers will improve options regarding in-person meetings.
“We’re only allowed an hour in-person on a biweekly basis,” Cagle-Demario said. “So being like, ‘Hey, we recognize that you guys can meet outside at these certain locations … that’d be obviously a little difficult to manage, but in terms of time constraints and safety constraints, I feel like that’d be worthwhile to at least look at.”
James Simeone, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, said he does not feel the safety measures in place are too strict but that certain regulations are unnecessary and practically unenforceable.
“I’d say the mask is unnecessary, only because of how big our campus is and how little that can be controlled,” he said. “The bus system, for example, they do require masks on there, but when you’re packed in there like sardines it’s pretty much useless, especially when half the people have them off the entire time anyway.”
Considering most of the student body is vaccinated, Simeone said the University should be more lenient when it comes to face coverings, especially in more private settings such as restrooms or in circumstances where two roommates are spending time together on campus.
He said certain situations cannot be controlled, such as off-campus social gatherings and bus capacity. Though, there are aspects of Rutgers’ approach that Simeone said he appreciates, such as the hand sanitizing stations at dining halls.
“That’s a really simple, effective thing that students can do, especially given our campus size,” he said.
Victoria Richard, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said she is proud of Rutgers for having been one of the first colleges to require students to be vaccinated and feels that the University’s safety measures are necessary.
“Some people, with that in mind, might think that the masks are a little redundant, but I feel like it’s much better to have too many precautions than to have not enough and then there be an outbreak and then we all have to go home,” she said. “So I don’t mind wearing the masks. I think it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Richard said the safety measures feel normal at this point, given how long the pandemic has lasted, and had no suggestions regarding potential adjustments that could be made to the measures.
“I feel like everything they could possibly be doing, they’re doing,” she said. “We have the social distancing, we have the masks, we have the vaccines. I feel like that’s everything that we could be doing to stop the spread.”