Southeastern anticipates return to normalcy

As+we+wait+for+clarification+on+mask+regulations+for+the+upcoming+semesters%2C+remember+to+follow+current+campus+safety+protocols.

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As we wait for clarification on mask regulations for the upcoming semesters, remember to follow current campus safety protocols.

Rebecca Carroll, News Editor

On Friday, April 9, President Thomas Newsom announced Southeastern Oklahoma State University would gradually begin returning to normal operations. “As we move towards the end of the Spring semester and commencement in May, we will begin a transition toward pre-COVID operations,” he wrote.

This summer, on and off-campus events will resume, visitors will once again be welcome on campus and socially-distanced spaces will be shortened to three feet instead of six.

In the fall, President Newsom stated face-to-face classes will resume, procedures will return to normal in the dining hall and restrictions will be lifted in residence halls. Additionally, homecoming will be observed after a one-year hiatus.

However, President Newsom did not give a clear answer as to whether masks would be required, but wrote, “At the current time we have not made a determination about campus face covering requirements for the Summer and Fall, but will communicate guidance when appropriate. Additional COVID precaution information for Summer will be forthcoming, and we will continue to follow CDC, OSHD and NCHA guidance when making decisions regarding COVID protocols. We strongly encourage everyone to continue reporting illness, as that remains an essential part of our mitigation strategy.”

If the mask requirement on campus is lifted, April Lehrling, director of Student Wellness Services, offers the following advice: “Do what you are comfortable with doing. Express your concerns to appropriate individuals if you feel led to do so. Seek out like-minded individuals and choose to create a “bubble” that allows you to relax.”

So, if you will feel more comfortable wearing a mask, wear one.

For individuals who may feel nervous about a return to normalcy, she assures those concerned that reported cases have declined over the course of the semester. “It is time to begin the transition to less restrictive living. Humans need one another! This pandemic has been isolating for many. Substance abuse, domestic violence, loss of employment and other concerns were increased by the measures that had to be taken to protect society during the height of this pandemic,” Lehrling said. “I embrace our desire to be together and I know SE will make decisions that protect the health and safety of our community as we move forward.”

Students and faculty continue to anticipate announcements regarding the upcoming summer and fall semesters. Until then, campus will proceed under COVID-19 precautionary measures: wearing masks, social distancing and taking care to stop the spread.

Students can utilize Student Wellness Services for counseling about COVID-19 related anxiety or any other issues at se.edu/student-wellness/counseling-center/.

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