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Observations of a Residential Assistant during COVID-19

Tessa Senel
Tessa Senel ’21, Professional Writing POE

I won’t lie—this semester is different from the typical college experience that we are used to.

Here on campus, I am a Residential Assistant (RA). This means that I oversee an entire floor of students in Lesher Hall where I enforce rules, but also promote community engagement. This year, the rules regarding COVID-19 seem strange but they are important. Students have to wear masks everywhere they go—to class, to the bathroom, to the shower, or simply walking across campus. There are no guests allowed in any student’s room, unless the other person is their partner. On top of that, students cannot eat inside of public spaces so that germs do not spread while they eat without a mask on.

It may seem impossible to enforce all of these rules on a college campus—however, you may be surprised to find out that I have had no one break the rules intentionally! Here at Juniata, the students I meet are so happy and proud to be back on campus that they follow the rules exactly, and they even hold each other accountable to ensure that everyone follows them.

While it may seem like a burden to throw on a mask to simply walk to the water fountain, it is these little tasks that help to keep Juniata open and keep us functioning with in-person learning. Our semester may look different than previous years, but these rules have brought us together as a community. On the weekends, when I walk downstairs in Lesher Hall and see my residents watching a movie with their masks on or relaxing outside in a socially distanced circle, I know that I can be proud to be part of the Juniata community.