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How students and staff feel about getting vaccinated and going back to in-person learning

Miina McCown/The Broadside 

With the new COVID-19 vaccine out and becoming slowly available to more and more people in Oregon, as well as school districts starting in-person learning once more, changes for Central Oregon Community College are on the horizon. But as much as some students and staff can get excited to be vaccinated as that will be the start of making the transition back to in-person education, the process will most likely be a slow and tedious one, as it is currently for many other states. For more information on the order of the groups of people that will be vaccinated as well as how many doses Oregon will be provided with, check out this article from Oregon Live.

Students and staff around campus were asked about how they feel about getting vaccinated as well as eventually being able to attend classes and other events all in-person, and here’s some of what they had to say.

Jacqueline Parks a student at COCC said, “In my opinion, I think people are expecting things to go back to ‘normal’ a lot sooner than it actually will happen. Even with the vaccine, we will still feel the effects of COVID-19 for a long while. As for going back to school, I think it’s a good idea and I myself am excited to be back in that environment. But again, that may be a slow-going process considering the vaccine isn’t even out for most people yet.”

Mike Artus, the Assistant Professor of Speech said, “I am excited for the opportunity to get the vaccine and the hope that will create to get back to face-to-face learning in the classroom. The pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, and I am proud of students and staff at COCC who have risen to the challenges so far. The vaccine will provide one more level of safety so we all can get back to a more ‘normal life’ at home and in school and I look forward to that!”

The Computer Lab Coordinator, Drew Fegette said, “The vaccine makes me optimistic for this upcoming Fall Term. I cannot wait until the population is sufficiently vaccinated, and more people can begin returning to the campuses. I miss seeing my fellow Bobcats. I think COCC did an amazing job pivoting to meet student needs and safety during the pandemic, but not all students are suited for 100% online learning. The return of in-person classes will give the students who do not thrive online, an opportunity to learn the way that works for them.

The Computer Labs did our best to try to mitigate these obstacles for students. We have been open on all four campuses during the closures; providing access to computers, internet, printing, technical support, expanded hours and somewhere to work (that is not your home.)”

Another student, Sophie Chudowsky stated, “I’m hoping to take the vaccine as soon as I can! I know that the vaccine won’t solve all of the damage done by COVID-19, but it’s a good start. It concerns me that many people in Oregon don’t want to take it. I trust the vaccine, and I’m glad that we were able to develop it so soon. I’m comfortable going back in-person as long as everyone is wearing masks and there’s good ventilation, otherwise I wouldn’t be.”

The Writing Center Coordinator, Jennifer Forbess, said “I’m really looking forward to seeing students and co-workers, my friends, in-person again and getting back to more normal operations. However, I think it will be a slower process than we might hope. I know there have been issues distributing the vaccine, so the transition might be a bit rocky. Personally, I’m a bit apprehensive of the vaccine because there haven’t been time for long-term studies, and I have had some health challenges. I plan on continuing to have a Zoom option for the Writing Center even after we’re able to be back in-person because it has been convenient for tutors and students, and it increases access to tutoring services for students who don’t visit the Bend campus often.”

A student that preferred to remain anonymous said, “I do not believe that we should have mandatory vaccinations at any point in our life. It is our choice. Our bodies. We should not let the government mandate what we do and don’t put into our bodies. They have the power to regulate other products in our bodies, and they do nothing about it… On another note, it isn’t okay to take away our rights to attend school simply because one chooses not to take a vaccine. Herd immunity is enough to carry the ones that choose not to inject one’s self with a dead virus along with the carriers… Aren’t our antibodies enough to get us back into school and be part of the herd immunity? Why isn’t the flu vaccine mandatory if the statistics are similar to this?”

Keitlyn Nguyen, a student, stated, “As of right now and what’s going on, I think it’s good that the vaccine is slowly starting to get distributed out, but I do think it’s still dangerous to go back to [in-person] school. Although I do miss going to classes in-person slightly, I think going back campus isn’t safe because we can still get the virus.”

While there are many positives, negatives and in-between responses to the question among students and staff, it seems that Oregon will see change sometime in the future. But for now, COCC remains with remote operations.

Drew Fegette, the Computer Lab Coordinator also mentioned that between now and when the vaccine is more widely available, would like students reminded that COCC offers services to help with student life, remote learning and other services. Here are some of the ways:

 

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