Students and staff respond to Iona’s early reopening

Aliyah Rodriguez, Features & Lifestyle Editor

The early reopening of Iona College may have come as a shock to many members of the community, but since the initial announcement of reopening, Iona has sent various emails to the community detailing new campus policies and procedures that have been brought on due to COVID-19. While the college community as a whole is still adjusting to this new mixed-mode manner of learning, those who attend class, work and live on campus have to abide by the extra rules in place.  

Students are no strangers to the term “unprecedented times”; COVID-19 has brought on a lot of changes, and Iona’s reopening was no exception. Before the campus officially opened for in-person classes, Iona asked that all students receive a mandatory COVID-19 test up to two weeks before returning to campus and even allowed residents to return earlier than usual to settle in and get tested. 

Allowing students more time to get their results back, Iona asked all students to take their classes remotely, delaying the start of in-person classes for an extra week and minimizing the number of students on campus. Students and campus staff have responded to the campus’ early reopening with positivity while still expressing concern for what is to come in the near future. 

Arlene Aruz, manager of the Starbucks on campus, praised the campus for bringing workers back before students and delaying in-person classes for an extra week.  

 “I think [Iona] did pretty well with opening due to the fact that they didn’t have much traffic going,” Aruz said. 

Currently, indoor spaces around campus are either closed or limited to allow for social distancing, and Iona has made outdoor spaces for students to dine, study and kill time in between classes.  

An employee of the Starbucks on campus, Cristal Veras, is worried about the changes that fall and winter might bring to the campus’ guidelines. 

“My biggest concern is that it’s going to get harder to regulate social distancing,” said Veras“I’m also afraid once the winter comes, everyone is going to get sick.”  

Students that also serve as staff on campus are able to provide a different perspective on how their peers are handling the school’s new guidelines based on their own observations while working and attending classes. 

Senior Brianna Fornasari is a Starbucks employee and a commuter student that has firsthand experience with serving the campus community under the campus’ new guidelines.  

 I feel like people on campus aren’t actually applying the rules required of them because of the pandemic,” Fornasari said. “Especially working at Starbucks, I feel like I see a lot of people without masks on and then we have to tell them to leave and then they get mad.” 

Senior Kiara Demosthene is a resident and an employee at Starbucks who also has concerns for safety and points out that, in her classroom experience, certain campus guidelines aren’t being followed.  

“Being that Iona was one of the first colleges to open in New York it was a little scary not knowing what to expect,” Demosthene said. “I feel like the school isn’t taking it as seriously as they should especially when it comes to classes. I haven’t been checked once for my green pass when going into classes. 

Cold weather and the upcoming flu season will bring new concerns and there will be both small and large challenges to overcome while we continue to adjust to this new way of life. The future is uncertain, and the next phase of our lives will continue to be a trial and error process until we get things right.