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I have been in the hospitality industry serving tables for the past 15 years. I have had quite a bit of fun, and got to travel all over the country. Being a waiter has had its advantages, but in 2016 I decided that I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life. I began school as a non-traditional student and started down a path that would hopefully lead me to become a more active member in our society.

Last semester, everything shut down so fast that students could not even travel back to the university to grab the textbooks they may have left in their dorm rooms. The whole city shut down and it seemed that there was no end in sight. Since the states have opened back up again, there have been spikes in new COVID-19 cases. In Gallatin County alone, there have been many cases with a majority being the 20-29 age range.

It was difficult for me to learn during online classes this spring, and I know that other students felt this same challenge. A study by James Madison University shows that students between the ages of 18-24 learn best in the traditional face-to-face style, and if the platform moves to online, the course load grows greatly for the professors.

I support the university’s decision that there should be a mask requirement on every student and faculty member any time they are on campus, as well as carry around a personal sanitation kit that the students can use to disinfect their personal area when they arrive and leave a work space. I hope that taking precautions like these now will allow me to take classes in person this fall, an environment in which I learn best. With the upcoming vote, I encourage the board to mandate.

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Casey Crosby