Students’ thoughts on SPU’s Covid-19 restrictions

students voice their opinions on the unintended effects that SPU’s Covid-19 restrictions have had on their daily routines, perception of their peers, and the overall college experience

Kit Nowicki, Staff Reporter

Data Visualization by Jenna Rasmussen

After months of ambiguity of what on-campus housing would look like, Seattle Pacific University reopened its doors for on-campus living. SPU began implementing new rules and regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

With the goal of keeping everyone healthy and keeping campus open, SPU requires all students to wear a mask, be socially distanced at least six feet from other individuals and have no gatherings of more than five people outside of a classroom setting. Good hygiene practices and self-screening for symptoms of COVID-19 are also being encouraged. 

Diligent execution of social distancing and mask-wearing, as is state-mandated, continues to be a cause of concern for some students.

“I wish my classmates were more cautious when off-campus. I understand the desire to take your mask off when you’re off-campus, but I’ve seen a lot of students explore Seattle and post pictures of themselves without any masks,” first-year Tatiana Martin said. “The six-foot rule, wearing a mask, and small groups go completely out the door when people go and explore Seattle.” 

Concerns arise when these students come back onto campus, not knowing what they may be bringing with them. SPU safety protocols are only relevant on school grounds, so they cannot be enforced once students leave campus.

“I don’t think the rules are being enforced at all. I feel like the social pressure is what is enforcing the rules instead of the people in charge,” Martin said.

In a random poll of 100 SPU students outside dormitory halls and Gwinn, 86% said they felt safe on campus, despite new guidelines aimed at protecting them from COVID-19.

Despite SPU’s first positive test result for COVID-19 coming within the first week of classes, and two floors in Ashton Hall in a 14-day quarantine, concern levels vary greatly among the student body.

“I’ve noticed, especially among my more liberal or progressive-leaning friends, that they’re extraordinarily hypocritical when it comes to how they handle COVID-19. It’s really bizarre because on social media they’ll be super outspoken about how important it is to wear a mask, and we should really be taking it seriously. Then they will proceed to not wear a mask when we hang out, or they’ll ask to share food or drinks,” said first-year Aidan Freeman.

Freeman believes there’s a misconception that friends don’t need to be socially distanced from each other. He points out that social distancing is meant to be done with everyone except members of the same household.

“The oddest part about it is how prevalent it is. There’s so many people I’ve interacted with that are doing that. They’re able to manipulate their perception and their reality to think that they’re doing a really good job handling it, while also simultaneously not willing to make the sacrifices in their life to accommodate COVID-19,” Freeman said.

In the same survey, 46% of SPU students said they believed SPU’s restrictions for preventing the spread of COVID-19 are just strict enough. Moreover, 31% of SPU students said they found the regulations to be too strict, and 23% said they think the regulations are not strict enough.

“I understand that the school is concerned about our safety in the pandemic, however, some of ethe rules contradict each other. It’s a bit hypocritical,” said first-year Irie Aburto.

Aburto feels that some of the social distancing rules on campus are too restrictive, and that not all of them make sense together. She goes on to discuss the recent change in elevator etiquette.

“It just doesn’t make sense that we can have several people taking the stairs at the same time, but we can’t have more than one person in the elevator. It doesn’t make sense that I can share a room with someone, but not ride in an elevator with them,” said Aburto.

First-year Liberty Estrella also expresses feelings about some of the regulations seeming random. Estrella, however, feels that the rules aren’t strict enough.

“I think that some of the restrictions seem really arbitrary and not like they are really doing much, if anything at all, to protect students’ health. There are other issues such as with testing [for COVID-19] and contact tracing that SPU should be taking a much more strict stance,” Estrella said.

So far this quarter, SPU has seen three positive COVID tests on campus. Doubt has begun to rise among the student body about the effectiveness of the SPU procedures as more students are sent to isolation in CHA and three floors in Ashton quarantined. 

SPU only offers COVID-19 testing on campus for those showing symptoms, but the city of Seattle offers registration for free testing at