Washburn University returning to pre-pandemic campus


TOPEKA (KSNT) – With less than four weeks until the fall 2021 semester begins, Washburn University is preparing to welcome students and faculty back. Many are looking forward to attending traditional in-person courses for the first time in over a year and a half. 

The college is mostly empty now but in a few weeks, the university will be full of students from across the country and the world.

Washburn is preparing to reopen classrooms and offices at pre-pandemic capacity, with little guidance on how students and staff should operate. Meaning, the decision to wear a mask or get the covid-19 vaccine will be a personal choice.

“We are always going to encourage masks and vaccines,” said Vice President for Student Life Dr. Eric Grospitch. “But each person will make that determination, so there are no requirements for either.” 

Returning to “normal” hasn’t been easy. However, the university is working closely with local guidelines when it comes to returning to campus.

Students can look forward to not only in-person courses but also activities and events that haven’t been available. 

“It’s usually a lively campus,” said Washburn Senior D’Mya Valdivia. “I’m used to the environment of a bunch of events, always being on campus for one reason or another.”

Valdivia is finishing up her last semester at Washburn. While she still has concerns, her experience abroad this summer has helped her feel more comfortable with the plans Washburn has set up. 

“Just being in a different place and seeing the different ways Covid is being handled or the different severity levels, I think there is a lot higher risk here. So going back to campus I’m actually less worried.”

While not every student will feel as comfortable returning to in-person learning as she is, there are steps that can be taken to protect against the virus and lead to a safer campus. While the campus isn’t enforcing mask-wearing or vaccinations, both will be available for students. 

Student Health Services is offering the vaccine at no cost. To make an appointment, call 785-670-1470. 

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