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It was nearly 9:00pm, and I was driving through southern Massachusetts to see family–a routine drive, but a long one. I had slowly grown accustomed to the drive, recognizing the sights and the scenery as I passed by.
It wasn’t too late at night, maybe six or seven. There was a warm breeze slowly moving into the unfinished room, and the sun was peeking behind a family of trees huddled together nearby. A soft, orange glow painted the room, and I could feel the heat of the night on my face. It was early September, and summer hadn’t quite yet died out. I could smell the faint, alluring scent of a barbecue nearby, and I stopped to soak in the last remnants of the sunset.
On the night of Nov. 26, 2008, I was at Leopold Café. I remember going on an early Christmas shopping spree earlier that day and being completely exhausted. Brunching myself back to life didn’t seem like a bad idea at the time – if only I had known what was to come. If I could go back in time, would I have made the same choices?
COVID-19 has changed what college life looks like for many students. Many colleges, such as the University of New Haven, have regularly released guidelines detailing mask and vaccine requirements, quarantine protocols, and class cancellation procedures. With no end in sight for COVID-19, it is uncertain how long these guidelines and protocols will remain in place. Additionally, a new COVID-19 variant has caused new concerns to arise over states and other universities and colleges removing their mask mandates. These concerns include possibilities the variant could be more contagious, cause worse symptoms, and more easily evade the COVID-19 vaccines. The question then becomes: how has COVID-19, and, by extension, the guidelines that have been enacted, affected undergraduate students at universities across the United States?