Faculty voiced their concerns at a virtual town hall Aug. 12 on WebEx. Faculty Senate President Joseph Simpson said he has also received emails from faculty.
“Faculty with young children are feeling nervous,” Simpson said in a WebEx interview Aug.12. Children under 12 are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine; About 15% of COVID-19 cases are those in children.
Faculty feel strongly about protecting their students as well, Simpson said. Students have also had concerns of returning.
Jacob Goldstein, student government association president, said students have reached out to SGA with concerns about wanting masks required while others have requested them to not be.
“It’s sort of been all encompassing where everybody has sort of expressed their own sort of points of view and we’re doing our best to balance what we see most from the students,” Goldstein said.
At the end of the spring semester, it was looking hopeful that things were returning to normal, with vaccines becoming more available, Simpson said. The climb in cases as more people plan to return to campus changed the way he looked at the situation.
“If you asked me a month ago I wouldn’t have had the same concern (of returning to campus),” Simpson said. “But I’m a scientist and I have to look at what’s happening and had to deal with the reality and advocate for faculty based on that reality.”
Simpson said students should work with faculty as everyone is under stress.
“Reach out to your faculty,” Simpson said. “Reach out to your professors. Ask them for advice and consideration. I think that will be useful going forward.”
This will be a semester of balancing what was once normal and the new normal, Goldstein said.
Goldstein said he is working towards helping students who are hesitant to get the vaccine to make them feel more comfortable with the idea.
Students can contact their respective SGA senators with any concerns or contact the association by email at email@example.com.