COVID-19 Policies Causing Mixed Reactions Among Students and Faculty


Since COVID-19 has hit Culver-Stockton’s campus, students and faculty have been concerned about how educational experiences will be affected. Last year, the school went online/virtual as a result of safety concerns. With the idea of a “normal” school year in mind, Culver has gone back to full, in-person classes this Fall and it has sparked some reactions across campus. Before this Fall semester started, Culver required either full vaccination of a COVID-19 shot or a signed exemption letter from a religious leader in order to return to campus. With new policies and regulations to adhere to, WildcatWire reached out to students and faculty to hear their opinions on these new guidelines.

In order to keep confidentiality, these responses have been kept anonymous.


Faculty and staff reactions:

“I think it was a brave decision by Culver-Stockton college to announce a vaccine mandate this summer.”

— Anonymous

“In many states and cities right now, almost everyone is wearing a mask…We may have herd immunity on campus since almost everyone is vaccinated but what happens to students when they leave campus? In Canton [MO] and Quincy [IL], very few are wearing masks which can be a bit shocking especially since those handfuls wearing masks are probably vaccinated but the majority of the surrounding communities are not vaccinated. The Quincy-Hannibal corridor has 26% positivity which is very high. Are we sending the wrong message to students? I do not think anyone wants to go back to mandatory wearing masks while exercising or even while lecturing but some vaccinated faculty are trying to model for their students that COVID-19 is a real issue and we must not let down our guard. Thus, they are vaccinated and they are wearing masks while inside.”


“Compared with what has happened across campuses nationally, Culver has so far weathered this pandemic remarkably well. We were able to do this because the administration relied on science, data, and facts to draft our COVID-related policies. To see what happens when the opposite is true, take a look at the latest news from Liberty University. Spoiler: they moved entirely online just one week after they lured everyone back with a promise to return to normal, vaccination and masks be damned. Still, the virus is dynamic and a variety of factors–not the least of which is low vaccination rates and surging hospitalizations in this and nearby counties–point to problems ahead. I think the current pre-delta-variant policies necessitate review and trust the administration to make the right choices as we move into the colder, more perilous months ahead.”


“I think it was a brave decision by Culver-Stockton college to announce a vaccine mandate this summer. However, I suspect that a number of students or staff are using the religious or medical exemptions as easy ways to get around the vaccine. I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt the campus if there is a surge.”


Student Reactions:

“…it’s unfair to mandate a vaccination for college.”

— Anonymous


“I appreciate that the college is trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by requiring that students be vaccinated or else have an exemption, but by using only an honor system to hold exempted students accountable, it does little to have strong effects. Personally, I am glad that we have removed mask mandates for vaccinated students. It has already made this year feel more personal than last year was. As someone who feels that they missed out on a proper college experience so far, it has been good for my mental health to be able to communicate with people face to face.”


“Culver-Stockton college, from my interpretation, seems to be doing nothing more than bread and circuses in terms of COVID. Last semester, the COVID guidelines felt lightly enforced, when the total number of cases was lower. Yet, when a scientifically proven new variant is shown to mean nothing against the current vaccine, to recoup the students who left the school because of the mandatory vaccine, they made it so there are zero social distancing guidelines. Since so, they also have gotten rid of the to-go containers in the cafeteria, forcing students to buy one small to-container rather than allowing students to grab and go…They decided they would rather seek opportunity and make money on the situation while reducing the likelihood of people taking food to go…there are so many people who are crammed in together [in the cafeteria]…they do not enforce gloves, or masks or give you the opportunity to take your food to go without paying extra. Since the start of the semester, the only thing the school has done is restrict overnight guests from off-campus. Yet, we are still in a time of the pandemic, do not have a nurse on campus, instead, we have a connection with the County Market doctor’s office–students can sign up for $75. Should a student have COVID, they would have to get a ride infecting others, or walk a mile uphill with a respiratory disease. It seems apparent that our school is ignoring facts of the transmission of COVID, as well as the exponentially growing number of cases in the area, so they can keep the doors open and make as much money as possible until they eventually have to shut their doors again because ‘the pandemic is just too bad.’ I believe all this is, is the school padding their bottom dollar at the expense of the student’s finances and health.”


“I wish we were told how many people we had in quarantine and isolation like we did last year. It is helpful to know what state the campus is in. We should also be able to know what percentage of students/faculty are vaccinated. I also wish we had a better way to enforce masking policies for unvaccinated individuals. I think it’s unfair to not hold them to that standard if they chose to get an exemption. It’s dangerous to everyone. I support the mandatory vaccines as I believe it is the best way to keep everyone safe. Finally, I’m not sure about the plans for Homecoming. I think it’s asking for trouble. The plan doesn’t really help enforce and useful COVID mitigations.”


“I think it’s unfair to mandate a vaccination for college. Some people have come years already into their college education just to have someone tell them that if they don’t get the vaccine, they can’t continue their education that they already spent thousands of dollars (some out-of-pocket) on. Not only this but switching to another college may put a student’s planned graduation time at risk, requiring more money and time to finish their education. While I think the vaccine isn’t a bad option, I also believe it to be unfair that an individual must have a letter from a religious leader. A letter stating beliefs is simply not enough. So does that then tell us that Culver is looking unfavorably at students who privately practice their own beliefs? Even though they express being open to individuals of different backgrounds? Why is it that we have to be affiliated with a Church in order to be taken seriously as individuals, pushing us into religious organizations? It seems like it is no longer a human right to choose to have a vaccine.”