Welcome Back and Stay Safe


Keri Kelly

Students were able to walk between the pillars-a tradition done every year for the new students at EWU.

By Randle Kinswa, Managing Editor

EWU students have been welcomed back to campus for the first time in the 20 months since COVID-19 invaded the west coast in the final week of February 2020, and it is still causing a measurable amount of problems in the present.

Since Feb. 2020, there have been two virtual EWU graduations, a short & spring football season, and dreadful online classes. EWU, like the rest of the nation, has been managing day-to-day operations at a much lower gear than before. 

Now, with the worst of the pandemic hopefully far behind, there is much hope and optimism that campus life will return to some form of normalcy. 

Mask mandates have so far seemed to provide some amount of safety for both students and faculty on campus, and in the personal experience of myself and a few of my peers, we have not experienced an issue regarding masks in class.

After one year, Sutton Hall is now open for students and faculty. (Keri Kelly)

Whether students have been vaccinated, or have received an exemption, everyone is required under the current state guidelines to wear a mask indoors. 

Despite masks being a wrinkle in the “back-to-normal” attitude that has been on literally everyone’s mind, optimism and excitement would be the two words I would use to describe the overarching aurora that many people on campus feel about this school year. 

I was not sure what the energy and excitement level was to be on campus, until I witnessed how much student traffic was garnered by the booths set up for Neighborfest. 

Student organizations that existed on campus prior to the pandemic had an uphill battle to stay afloat for an entire year that was done virtually. (The Easterner included)

“I was not sure what the energy and excitement level was to be on campus, until I witnessed how much student traffic was garnered by the booths set up for Neighborfest.” -Randle Kinswa, Managing Editor 

Not all the organizations made it through the pandemic, yet over 78% of student-run organizations did. 

Neighborfest provided an adrenaline shot for the surviving organizations, to hopefully continue their existence through this school year. 

EWU athletics and other extracurricular activities faced similar problems to student-organizations. The threat of outright death to a program was never in the cards, but COVID-19 provided more than enough uneasiness to many athletes.

Questions like: “Will we even have a season?” were answered and asked many times over the course of 20 months.

Now, with everyone back on campus, and the “back-to-normal” attitude fueling literally everybody, the time to stay safe and healthy is of the utmost importance. 

If the past 20 months have proven anything, it’s the ominous fact that “back-to-normal”, may be the most fragile sentence in the English language. 

*Remember, the lockdowns were only initially planned to be three weeks, not the year-and-half it actually took.