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Commons Dine in

Commons has officially reopened its in-person dining options. On Feb. 17, 2022, students received a mass email from the Dean of Students, Cecil Youngblood, noting that the change was to take place the very next day: Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. The notification email addressed students directly, thanking them for their diligent efforts that “have allowed [the college administration] to make this change,” adding, too, that they were “excited and proud!” This change has been long awaited ever since the decision towards dine-in removal was announced at the beginning of the spring term. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect millions of people all around the world, especially with ever-more contagious mutations developing over time. Unfortunately, the Omicron variant was so contagious that the college had decided to repeal the dining policies put in place in the Fall 2021 semester. The place of community that was a staple of student life on the pre-pandemic campus had once again been taken from students.

Fortunately, though, the protective policies and guidelines, including indoor mask mandates, vaccine requirements, and social distancing measures, implemented by the college have worked effectively enough to reopen one of the students’ favorite places. Commons means a lot to students; it acts as a place of community that fosters the development of interpersonal relationships among peers. “It’ll be nice…” first-year student Adrian Camacho says, “…to be able to relax around friends and teammates in between classes again,” recognizing the special importance of Commons on the Beloit College campus. In that same vein, Rosa Coit, another first-year student, notes that they have missed Commons as a dining area that is conducive to conversation and connection while also mentioning potential COVID concerns.

Indeed, the pandemic is ongoing and concerns are still in the air. In Youngblood’s announcement he calls attention to this: “Please remember COVID guidelines continue to remain in place. You are still required to wear your mask at all times when you are not eating or drinking.” Commons is a place of community, and as such, students must be committed to protect it by adhering to the guidelines and protocols that allowed for the return of indoor dining. 

Senior Hunter Brown encapsulated the student body’s response to the reopening, calling it a “welcomed return to form.”

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