The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Lafayette community looks back on experiences during pandemic

Professor Woo said that the pandemic allowed his to refine his teaching skills, given the new online challenges. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Communications)
Professor Woo said that the pandemic allowed his to refine his teaching skills, given the new online challenges. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Communications)

As Lafayette eases and erases once ubiquitous pandemic restrictions, students and faculty alike have gotten to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on their lives.

Lafayette faculty, now with a relative absence of restrictions, are finding pride in their adaptability and fortitude. Joseph Woo, assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering, regarded the obstacles encountered and successfully overcome as catalysts for improvement.

“I will say that I did miss teaching without a mask. And to return to it is in some senses a certain return to form,” Woo said. “I think that we learned a lot about effective tools of teaching and modes of delivery of information from our teaching remotely and in a hybrid format that can still be translated into a return to in-person teaching.”

“It leads to a better transmission. It leads to a better kind of information. And to my mind makes me a better instructor for it,” Woo added.

Many students, like Chiko Dhire ‘23, experienced firsthand the psychologically destabilizing effects of the pandemic.

I was staying on campus when Covid started and I was very concerned because of the lack of information and disparities in the available media sources,” Dhire wrote in an email. “As time progressed, surprisingly, I grew more intimidated by people’s panicky reactions to when someone got infected than I was of getting sick.”

For every student troubled by the restrictions and all that was associated with them, there are others, like Sophia Perkins ‘24, who did not find the situation as dire.

“I’ve had a job out in the community, so I’ve seen the COVID restrictions here compared to other places.” Perkins said. “Having been in different places this summer without restrictions there are some places where I don’t feel comfortable without a mask but in general I feel like I’ve gotten more comfortable with it all.”

Sports teams and competitive organizations encountered obstacles of their own. Some, like the mock trial team, have yet to fully realize the breadth of their competitive spirit, as they’ve been confined to screens for the better part of two years.

“It was still on Zoom towards the end of last semester because the risk for a lot of schools just wasn’t there,” Noah Wilk ’23, one of the captains of the mock trial team, said. “No school wanted to host and have potentially like 300 other students who are exposed come on to their campus. And this year, schools are definitely looking to be a little bit more open. But even now we’re struggling to find places that are as accommodating as they were in the past. So it’s definitely a struggle.” 

Similarly, students lamented the missed social opportunities that came with online learning and social distancing.

“It was definitely hard to feel like [I] got to know all the people that were in [my] sorority because we were all at home,” Danielle Lang ’23 said. “I didn’t get to connect with the seniors that were graduating because I never really met them in person.”

Perkins expressed confidence in Lafayette’s ability to contain an outbreak if one were to occur.

“There haven’t been any major issues in the past and I know, with the policies that we had last year, there were no major outbreaks,” Perkins said.

Echoing her, Ryan Abrams ’26 noted that he was not concerned about COVID when moving onto campus this past weekend.

“I am double vaxxed and boosted so I wouldn’t worry about that,” he said.

Sarah Cohen ’24, on the other hand, wears a mask whenever indoors. However, she said that she feels very comfortable on campus doing so.

“I think I’m taking it more seriously, just for reasons related to my family, than a lot of students are. But I think at this point, everyone’s kind of just doing what they’re most comfortable with,” Cohen said. “Even though I’m wearing a mask I’ve never had anyone criticize or ask why. Even when I’m the only person in the room was wearing one, which is great.”

Cohen added that the pandemic gave her time to learn what makes her happy and to focus her time on that.

“I’ve learned a lot more about what I genuinely enjoy … and also I’ve just gotten a lot more comfortable doing things that bring me joy regardless of what other people think, both academically and socially and in my entire life,” Cohen said. “It definitely made me realize that it’s okay to not be busy every minute of every day.”

Nathan Kornfeind ’23 contributed to reporting. 

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *