With students and faculty back on campus, the Illinois State University community has persevered during the COVID-19 pandemic as fall 2021 has brought new challenges and victories.  

Dr. Stephen Hunt is a professor and director of the School of Communication at Illinois State University. He has seen firsthand how the pandemic has impacted life on campus over the past year and a half. 

headshot of Dr. Hunt
Dr. Stephen Hunt is a professor and director of the School of Communication at Illinois State University.

“The response to the mask mandates and other pandemic guidelines has been, overall, very great for not only COM students, but also for all Illinois State students,” Hunt said. “We have seen an astounding number of students receive their vaccinations and have had little to no complaints about students and faculty not wearing face coverings. ISU has accommodated these needs by adding face coverings to every classroom in all buildings as well as large containers of disinfectant wipes in classrooms.” 

Regarding possible spikes in cases since in-person classes began, Hunt said that from what he’s seen from the COVID tracker the University produced, things have gone really well.

“Our positivity rate, as of November 8, is 2.1%, and 92% of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated,” Hunt said. “Plus, 79% of all enrolled students are fully vaccinated.”  

In Hunt’s class, he finds academic participation to be exceptional. 

“There was a lack of connection when being taught via Zoom. Face-to-face teaching allows for students to engage more with each other and with their professors. The dynamics are just better,” he said. “This fall semester we have seen students, faculty, and staff really rise above these difficult times and be extremely compliant with the new guidelines. This brings hope to see a similar and even better spring semester.”