What Comes Next? Questions About Life After the Pandemic
Contributor Ronnie Du
As daily coronavirus cases continue to decline and vaccines roll out, it begs a question, or, as it happens—innumerable questions condensed into a singular query—what is life going to look like when things begin to return to normalcy? Here are some of the most pertinent questions for Western students that remain unanswered.
What About the Future of Masks?
Will there be a tipping point where we return to our unmasked ways? Will wearing a mask remain the norm, or will it even remain socially acceptable? At the moment, the future of masks remains unclear.
Playing a substantial factor in the future of the mask are government regulations, as well as those of businesses, workplaces, and schools. Will masks be required for entry into buildings, or will they be shunned by all? As the pandemic begins to loosen its grip on Ontario and the larger world, it is conceivable that sentiments may swing either way.
Should Vaccines Be Mandatory?
Although some workplaces such as healthcare facilities have mandated COVID-19 vaccinations, there is still much to be decided on whether travelers, students, or even the general populace should be required to receive the immunization. And with vaccines being developed, approved, and distributed in record times, there is still sizeable hesitation from the general public about their safety and general efficacy.
How Will Social Interaction Change?
This is perhaps one of the most intriguing questions surrounding the coronavirus aftermath, since, in the past year, handshakes, parties, and other social acts have become strangely unfamiliar. For many of us, even seeing such an interaction on television brings about a sense of discomfort. So what happens when we start to see more of our friends, classmates, and colleagues? Will we return to greeting them with a hearty handshake? An elbow bump? A nod?
And what about partying or school-sanctioned social events? Will there be mask mandates? Mandatory hand-sanitizing? Although at Western, an enthusiastic return to partying is a near-certainty, perhaps the aftermath of the virus will shift the way we think about partying.
How Will Classes Be Delivered?
By announcing that it will be switching to a “mixed model” for learning in the fall, Western has raised many questions about the specific nature of its fall course delivery, which it has yet to formally disclose. Are remote classes going to remain an option? When will Western return to a predominantly in-class model, or will they at all? Lastly, pertaining to the question of mandating vaccines—will Western require students to receive the one for COVID-19 in-order to attend in-person classes?
Are My Applications Going to Suffer?
This seems to be among the greatest concerns for students considering anything from graduate school to medical school to internships. Although some educational institutions have waived standardized testing requirements, de-emphasized grades, or have otherwise tried to lessen the effect of the pandemic on their decision-making processes, whether employers are doing the same is another question altogether.