Marietta College students prepare for spring semester

Photo by Candice Black Gwen Sour, junior, Kyra Cutsail, sophomore, and Samuel Barlett, junior, look forward to working together in the theatre department as they prepare for their spring semester at Marietta College.

As Marietta College students prepare for their spring 2021 semester, faculty and students share their excitement and hopes for the upcoming months.

Last week, college faculty took to the Marietta College Facebook page to welcome students back to campus, answer questions and outline some details for the semester.

To begin the meeting, college president Bill Ruud mentioned some of the national events that are plaguing the minds of Americans all over the county.

“It’s within every American’s rights to peacefully protest. What happened on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol is our strongest rebuke,” Ruud said.

With the upcoming transition of power from the Trump administration into Biden’s term, Ruud emphasized the importance of truth and ensuring that students are equipped with the tools they need to fulfill their civic duty.

“At Marietta College, a key component of our liberal arts education is being dedicated to the truth, even if the truth is something we don’t agree with or makes us uncomfortable,” he said.

“Our faculty are dedicated to advancing the truth regarding a range of issues including the 2020 election, the COVID-19 pandemic and racial imbalances.”

In moving forward to the spring semester, Ruud said because the fall 2020 semester was successful, the college will continue with its plan of attack against COVID-19.

“We know that the Marietta College cocktail works, which is why we will continue it through the spring 2021 semester,” he said.

Masks will continue to be mandatory on campus, social distancing will take place along with emphasizing hand washing, sanitizing and monitoring symptoms.

The National Guard helps to provide COVID tests on Tuesdays with results coming in as early as Friday and Ruud recommends all students to take advantage of that free testing.

Richard Danford, vice president of student life and diversity, encouraged all students to remain diligent of keeping themselves and one another safe so that in-person instruction can continue.

“I know that you’re all going to be enthusiastic about being around your friends again and that’s great. We ask that you remember the importance of keeping your social bubbles as small and as tight as absolutely possible because that’s how we will be successful in being able to continue in person instruction,” he said.

Provost and dean of faculty Janet Bland said all classrooms have been re-marked to ensure social distancing.

“It is crucial that we stay super aware of how close we are to each other in their class,” she said. “I’m going to ask you to trust that you are making a difference that you may never see.”

Bland said she is working with local school districts to see if education majors could receive the COVID vaccine because of their roles in student teaching but so far there is no answer on that.

Theatre majors Gwen Sour, Kyra Cutsail and Samuel Barlett are excited to be able to perform and engage with their friends in a safe manner.

Performances are still available either via streaming to a very small audience.

“The last production we did masked and we’re carrying on that tradition of doing a show masked and for the most part keep socially distanced (with) a very limited audience, if an audience at all,” Sour said.

Some of their productions can be streamed and Sour said “it kind of opens up opportunities for families who maybe aren’t able to come down. I’m pretty excited for that, it’s nice to be able to create (when) a lot of schools aren’t able to do that right now.”

Cutsail said she is grateful to the Marietta College administration for allowing them to participate in theatre.

“All of us are friends so it’s really nice to be able to work with your friends and hang out but also it in a safe way but still be able to learn, grow and work with other artists. It’s a really good experience,” she said.

A few faculty members in particular have helped these students enjoy their experience at Marietta College.

“I’d love to give a shoutout to Janet Bland and Suzanne Walker. They are big proponents of the arts, they’re just really good people,” Sour said. “It feels like we’re being looked out for and cared for. (They’re) kind of mother figures.”

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.


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