Class environment is anti-social following COVID-19

Classroom Environment
Graphic by Amanda Bollig.

Editor’s Note: This article does not promote unsafe behaviors regarding COVID-19. These are merely reflective thoughts on the writer’s experience and does not represent the opinions of the Communiqué or Kirkwood Community College. 
From the perspective of a student who shows up occasionally at Kirkwood every week for an in-person class, the environment of the college I experienced in 2019 is drastically different from the college I attend today. Campus is a ghost town but with a living population. 
The atmosphere feels dulled. Interaction with others is at an all-time low. Being with someone from the blue light-emitting computer monitor can’t ever compare to seeing them in the flesh. Social distancing is a strange concept when implemented, especially for long periods of time, and is negated at times by our nature. Humans don’t talk from a distance of six feet regularly. We lean toward, stand by or sit next to each other when we converse. 
I’m all for safety. But I feel like something has to change in regard to some of the COVID-19 policies, at least the ones that affect the social climate. But, naturally, this kind of change should only be done when the vast majority of students and staff have taken the vaccine. Otherwise, it sets a standard of an awkward social climate, where standing next to someone feels like a threat. 
Masks, I feel, are a part of this as well. One of the strongest ways we communicate with others is through nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and it’s hard to get a read on someone when half of their face is covered. When the time comes for masks to no longer be mandated, it doesn’t mean you or your friends have to stop wearing it. If you feel safer with a mask, you can keep it on if you want. This is a free country after all. 

These were just my thoughts of how social life has stagnated at Kirkwood since the start of these changes a whole year ago. Sheesh, remember when we thought this situation would be limited to only a few months? 
Feel free to comment your thoughts down below regarding my take on this and stay safe. 

Image courtesy of Amanda Bollig | Kirkwood Communiqué

Categories: Editorials, Opinion