COVID-19 guidelines in the classroom

Students and professors reflect on how well protocol is being followed


Emily Dvareckas

Due to COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, academic buildings and residence halls have cleaning stations so students and faculty can make sure they keep shared surfaces clean.

Jimmy Sadowski, Herald Reporter

When people heard about colleges reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, many wondered if students would have trouble obeying safety guidelines. However, there wasn’t widespread discussion about whether professors would uphold them.

Many RWU students expressed that their professors have done a good job abiding by COVID-19 safety guidelines this semester.

“My professors have been doing very well, keeping it up with wearing masks,” said freshman Emily Rodriguez. “Even if someone forgets to wear their mask right, they will say ‘you need to have your mask on’ and they always remind us to wear our masks.”

“All my teachers are wearing their masks. We are always sanitizing,” said sophomore Tim Tangari. “They are doing a great job.”

Rodriguez said her professors have upheld safety guidelines for group work as well.

“We do group work in class sometimes, but they are usually small groups and you have to stay spaced apart,” Rodriguez said.

Sophomore Ainsley Iovanna said she had a professor experiencing symptoms of the virus, who took the regulations seriously and obeyed COVID-19 safety protocol.

“My professor sent us an email saying she was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and canceled class right away,” Iovanna said. “She also said she was going to speak to her doctor.”

Despite many professors’ dedication to following the rules, some students have noticed troubling behavior regarding certain guidelines. Junior Lindsay Towle said some of her professors did not wear their masks correctly.

“A couple of my professors coming to class when they are lecturing will have their mask below their nose or on their chin,” Towle said. “Granted they are pretty far from us, but it is noticeable.”

Sophomore Toby Pydych said his professors felt uncomfortable with their masks.

“Sometimes my professors have had a hard time getting comfortable with mask wearing,” Pydych said. “You can tell it bothers them and they complain about a problem they have with it, like how hot the air is when they are breathing in.”

Junior Grayson Scanlon said he thought some of his professors were not enforcing mask safety guidelines strictly enough for students in the classroom.

“I do not think professors take enforcing the rules of other students as seriously as they should,” Scanlon said. “You will see a lot of kids hold their masks off to breathe in the middle of class and it is like ‘maybe don’t do that.’”

Junior Becca Maclellan said some of her professors have had trouble making sure students clean the classroom space.

“Some of my professors have not been great with making sure we clean at the beginning and end of class,” Maclellan said. “That has kind of been an issue.”

On the issue of cleaning, Professor of Engineering Janet Baldwin said her students spray down the desks at the end of class even if she forgets to ask them.

“I am usually answering questions at the end of class and then when I remember to ask them to spray I look around and they all had done it on their own,” Baldwin said. “They are really doing a great job.”

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Margaret Everett said she received one student complaint about a faculty member not obeying guidelines.

“I was aware of one student concern very early in the semester,” Everett said. “We followed up immediately with the instructor to provide guidance and I have heard of no other concerns since.”

Assistant Professor of Journalism Bernardo Motta said he has obeyed the safety protocols.

“I wear a mask at all times, keep the classrooms clean with the help of the students, I keep the number of students per class below the maximum allowed. I move classes fully online every time my tests are not processed or are lost in transit,” Motta said.

Motta said he did not view any of the safety protocols as unnecessary. He believes the university has done well with the safety protocols they put into place.

“This is a nasty virus with unprecedented characteristics,” Motta said. “I know the university is going beyond any other higher ed institution as far as putting protocols in place, following up and making sure we all have outlets to add to the process. Simply put, I don’t think the university could do any better.”