Many students have different reactions to being back on campus after weekends of heavy partying and bar attendance raised the COVID-19 infection rate.
Iowa State jumped from a 2.2 percent positivity rate during move-in testing to a positivity rate of 13.6 percent from testing conducted during the first week of school. This jump occurred over the span of one week.
Students have mixed reactions about being on campus, other students’ behaviors and the actions the university is taking regarding COVID-19 health guidelines.
Some disregarded guidelines, as shown in the video of events that happened on "801 day."
Brandon Gloeckner, senior industrial technology major, said he is disappointed in his classmates.
“I think overall, I’ve been kind of disappointed in my fellow students, at least as far as going out to the bars and wearing masks in public go,” he said.
Face coverings are mandated on campus at Iowa State in buildings and outside when social distancing is not possible. Ames City Council also passed a mask ordinance Tuesday, but it will not be enforced.
“People have been doing a really good job, as far as I can see, of wearing [a mask] where they’re required to, but most people it seems would only prefer to wear them when required and not wear them at all times, like out on the sidewalks and stuff,” Gloeckner said.
Gloeckner also referenced a new university policy President Wendy Wintersteen enacted Aug. 21 stating “all on- or off-campus social gatherings involving university students must comply with all public health orders then in place (Federal, State, County, City, and University).”
This policy was created in response to 801 day and other mass gatherings around campus; it will be enforced, according to the Student Code of Conduct.
“I think it’s a good policy to have, but I wish it had been implemented before 801 day,” Gloeckner said. “It’s too little, too late. I think we’re already set on the path where we’re going to be online sooner rather than later because of [801 day].
“I think the university is going to try and hang on as long as they can, but I don’t think we finish the semester. Not in person,” he said.
As an industrial technology student, much of Gloeckner’s coursework is hands on and needs to be done in person.
“If/when we go online, I’m put at a severe disadvantage for learning,” he said. “That makes me maybe a little more cynical and angry towards other people because I know I’ll be screwed over if we go online.”
Mica Post, senior in biological and pre-medical illustration, said her biggest shock upon coming back to campus was seeing how many classes are in person.
“I kind of thought there were going to be a lot more online [classes],” she said.
Like Gloeckner, Post also mentioned the lack of masks around campus aside from in buildings and in class.
“Walking around campus, it’s very obvious that they’re not enforcing a mask policy,” Post said. “Maybe they are in buildings, but just like, out and about campus there’s no enforcing of mask wearing so most people are wearing them either under their chin or just not wearing them.
“I think maybe they’re better — they put it on once they go into a building — but if you’re walking in groups of 20 people anyway, it doesn’t really make a big difference,” she said.
Post also talked about the partying and some of the expectations set by the university.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous for the people in charge of a college to expect college kids not to party,” she said. “I think it sucks that college kids are partying but it’s like asking a toddler to wear a mask all day. It’s just not realistic.”
Post said some of her professors have alluded to the fact that going online is a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.’
“It’s almost like [my professors] expect us to go online in like two weeks,” she said. “Every single thing is like ‘once we go online’ or ‘when this happens.’ It seems like the attitude is that we’re going online anyway, so I guess I’m not really sure why we didn’t start that way.”
As the state of Iowa’s testing numbers and positivity rate reached an all-time high Thursday, it remains to be seen how many members of the Iowa State community will test positive for COVID-19 this week.
Per a mandate from Gov. Kim Reynolds, bars in Story County will be closed as of 5 p.m. Thursday to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among young people.
Iowa State’s testing numbers will be released on a weekly basis and will be released at the end of the week.