President Martin Prepares Students for Return to “Pre-Pandemic” Life

Drake administration is optimistic about instruction in the fall.

 Drake University President Marty Martin was optimistic about returning to “pre-pandemic” life this fall and urged students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in a video message sent to students last Tuesday.

Martin said, “I am incredibly optimistic because of the good news about the distribution of the vaccine both in our state of Iowa, around the country and indeed around the world. That we will all be able to get vaccinated, we will all be able to come back in the fall. I’m certainly optimistic that we’re going to be able to return to much more of a pre-pandemic Drake experience.”

A screenshot from Martin’s video message.

Drake University sophomore Abby DeAnna said she was excited to hear about the optimism from administration, even though there were no clear plans outlined in the message.

“Part of the significance is to get students back on campus, back into traditional college life and to also support the idea that vaccines will help them get there,” she said.

Landon Norkus, a sophomore, said the message was a “big deal,” but was still skeptical.

“It’s exciting to hear that he’s optimistic, but I feel like it could just be a little bit of a show. Hopefully we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Norkus said.

DeAnna also said the message was created so the university can prepare students to return in the fall so Drake can increase its income.

 The pandemic has reduced the number of on-campus students, resulting in less income from residence halls and dining.

Martin said students should get the vaccine as soon as they are able to and should urge their peers and friends to do the same.

“I think that was great of the school to try and not enforce, but facilitate a bit, especially with the clinic that’s happening on Friday,” DeAnna said.

Drake University is hosting a vaccination clinic on April 9 for all students, faculty and staff that have yet to be vaccinated. This is part of the university’s efforts to get as many people as possible vaccinated.

Norkus said he was happy with how Martin addressed the vaccine situation, but he has to be careful.

“He can say, ‘I recommend you guys getting the vaccine,’ but there is a line, and I don’t think he’s crossed it yet. I do think it could happen, especially if Drake requires you to have the vaccine to come back in the fall,” Norkus said.

In addition to online learning, DeAanna said she had difficulty “defining the line between being safe but also trying to feel a little bit of normalcy, especially with school. Normalcy, I think, is pertinent, at least to my mental health.”

DeAnna said the transition back to a more normal college experience will be difficult logistically for the university, but also for students, as they will need to figure out where to “draw the line” between safety and normalcy.

Norkus said it will be difficult for the university to get full support from students and parents.

“You can’t please everyone. There are always going to be people that still want to take classes online, so then they’re still going to have to offer some classes online. There is a lot of controversy and a lot of very different opinions on it,” Norkus said.

In the speech closing, Martin said students should continue to remain diligent. This came after he praised Drake students’ commitment to following the COVID-19 protocols in his opening.

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