A large group of Illinois State University students walk across the bridge that goes over across College Avenue. 

Returning to a so-called “normal'' has been something we have all been wanting since the beginning of the pandemic.

We have missed enjoying the college experience. Sporting events. Tailgating. The buzz of a busy campus on a Tuesday afternoon. Going to an 8 a.m. and seeing people’s faces instead of just a black screen with the name of a person you have never met before.

We are slowly returning to normal, but there are some mixed signals on what we should be doing.

Illinois State University has allowed for in-person classes but asks that students wear masks indoors which also follows Governor J.B. Pritzker’s recent statewide indoor mask mandate that he put into effect late August. 

So we wear our masks indoors, but students are still going to bars where masks are not being enforced. Students are still packing the stands for football games with no masks. Students still walk to class in large groups with no masks.

Festival ISU and the Sweet Corn Circus had a lot of traffic where lots of people, if not almost all, were not wearing masks. The spread of COVID-19 is still happening, but at what point do we notice the hypocrisy of the decisions being made?

As a senior at ISU, I am worried about having my senior year ripped away from much just like the graduating classes have for the past two years. I finally get to enjoy the things I have missed out on since the first semester of my sophomore year, but how long is this going to last?

With the recent rise of COVID-19 cases, the possibility of returning to online learning lingers in the air. 

We have now been in classes for a quarter of the semester. If the university shuts back down, students are going to have to pack up all of their belongings and return back home, once again.

The university will also have to refund those students who return home, just like they did in the spring of 2020. So at this point, I feel we have reached the threshold where we stay in person for the rest of the semester. Finish it out.

The Delta variant has been around in the U.S. since June, and we have been seeing a rise of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the summer.

We could choose to go online because cases are getting too high, that should have been decided before the start of the semester. If students or teachers have a serious concern about staying in the classroom, then they should have the option to do their course work online.

I am not here to criticize those who choose to wear masks or choose not to wear masks. I am also not here to criticize those who are vaccinated or those who are not vaccinated.

I am simply here to criticize the hypocrisy in the decision making that got us to where we are now. There are too many mixed signals. Either we are all in, or we are all out.

If we are so worried and afraid of getting COVID-19, then we must understand that doing half the work to prevent it is not going to be effective. Stop with the mixed signals.

ALEX GANT is Photo Editor for The Vidette. He can be contacted at vidette_amgant1@ilstu.edu Follow Gant on Twitter at @AlexGant16

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