The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

SOTA faculty and students reflect on the state of the pandemic

What SOTA faculty and students have to say about vaccine mandates, more

October 6, 2021

Some faculty and students from the School of the Arts (SOTA) have a lot to say about the COVID-19 vaccine and how essential it is to feel safe and healthy on campus at Northern Kentucky University. 

Marc Leone, an associate professor for drawing and painting at NKU, said he wants the COVID-19 mandate to be passed. 

“What I don’t like now is we don’t have a vaccine mandate. Faculty Senate has approved the vaccine mandate, and it has been given to the President of the university and I don’t know the reasons why our upper-level administration from the Provost to President Vaidya have not ratified that and moved that forward,” Leone said.

Mark Leone also talks about how frustrating it is to see people around NKU’s campus without masks. 

Mark Leone, an associate professor for drawing and painting at NKU. (Provided by Leone)

“I would like to see a vaccine mandate. That’s what bothers me most is we have folks walking around here that are unvaccinated on campus every day, and possibly could be carrying COVID. I’ve run into several students who have had it and still aren’t vaccinated, that are putting everybody in more peril than I think we need to be.” 

Maiya Caldwell, a 21-year-old dance major, talks about how crucial it is for a dancer to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“I think it is extremely important to get the vaccine. It definitely has been the reason that we have been able to move forward a little bit,” Caldwell said. “I think we all feel a little bit safer being as close as we are as dancers because we pretty much all operate in the same space so if one person gets sick, then the whole department goes down.”

SOTA faculty and students also feel as though they are handling being back on campus at this stage in the pandemic fairly well. 

Maiya Caldwell, 21-year old dance major at NKU. (Provided by Subject)

“I think we are doing a lot better this year than we were doing last year. When teaching online, it was hard to play simultaneously with my students,” Holly Attar, the Director of Music Preparatory Division and viola lecturer said. “There is nothing like the feeling of live instrumental playing.” 

There are positives about being able to be back on campus this year, and moving forward as students and teachers at NKU. 

“I am able to be in the studios and stuff. We have to wear masks which isn’t fun, but we make it work,” Caldwell said. “Although it is a little bit different with the masks, I think I still have been able to do a good job with keeping myself consistent in enjoying what I do as well as just continuing to do it which I think is pretty hard in a pandemic right now.” 

Overall, SOTA faculty and staff have had mixed feelings about the pandemic and where we are right now. 

“I have some mixed feelings. I think that I’ve adjusted about as well as anybody could in terms of the teaching aspect or the curricular aspect of it,” Leone said. “I did not have a problem going fully online, which I did with my drawing courses. There were some challenges in the beginning, but I was able to overcome some of the hoops.”


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