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Local college students gear up for mask wearing at school

Red Level High School alumnus Jonathan Williamson is one of the thousands of University of Alabama students who will return to campus in August.

Due to COVID-19, the spring 2020 semester forced students to leave campus and continue on with remote learning.

To slow down the potential spread of the virus, universities across the state have made wearing masks in the classroom mandatory for the upcoming Fall semester.

Although Williamson does not favor wearing a mask, he agrees this is the best decision to keep everyone safe while on campus.

“I personally don’t like wearing masks, but I can understand that it helps lower the spread of the virus,” Williamson said.

When weighing the options, Williamson sees the masks as better than the alternative. “It’s the better out of two evils,” Williamson said. “I’d rather go to class while wearing a mask than do online classes.”

As students file back into Tuscaloosa after being away, the possibility of the virus spreading on campus is evident. Williamson sees this not as a threat, but as something that he will have to be wary of.

“No, I don’t fear being exposed to the virus,” Williamson said. “I think a lot of people have already had the virus and may not have known.”

Fearing the virus is not on WIlliamson’s mind as he plans his return to campus.

“If I got it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world,” Williamson said. “I’d seek medical attention and do what I need to do.”

Andalusia High School alumnus Will Black from Auburn University has a similar standpoint.

Black plans to wear a mask in the classroom to abide by the university’s policy while also keeping himself and others safe.

“If the policy requires us to wear masks, I will adhere to that,” Black said.

Facing the unknown, Black is concerned about returning to campus amid the pandemic. “Of course that’s a concern for me. It should be a concern for anyone who is going where there are so many students from different regions,” Black said.

Auburn University is using extra measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, according to Black. Black said the university plans to use technology to keep in contact with students to limit the possibility of the virus spreading within the classrooms.

“They expect us to take our temperature every day,” Black said. “There will also be a contact tracking app with questions to decide whether or not we have symptoms. The screen will turn either green or red depending on the results. If the screen is red, the student’s professors will be notified and you will automatically have an excused absence.”

Regardless of the virus, Black is hopeful for the upcoming semester.

“I’m interested to see how everything plays out,” Black said.