Everyone knows things are different this semester at Castleton University.
But COVID-19 has not just affected the students and faculty. It has also been felt by the people who keep students on campus safe. Public Safety staff and the community advisors in dorms have had to maneuver around all of the changing policies.
Keith Molinari is the Director of Public Safety at Castleton University and says it has been a unique semester.
“Homecoming being different, no football games, in some way it’s a lull, and in some ways it’s weird,” he said.
With fewer students on campus, things are definitely quieter, he said.
“As far as calls with COVID-19, because there’s less students on campus, there are less calls for service,” Molinari said.
Molinari has also had to adapt to the changes on the administrative side.
“For me personally it’s just, I don’t get out of my office much, which I hate, and I don’t get to see people as much. A lot of my meetings are on Zoom. I don’t get to meet with my colleagues at other colleges. Everything is through Zoom. They are still going on, it’s just not leaving my office,” said Molinari.
Officer Gus Santora has been a Castleton University Public Safety officer for eight years.
Last year at this time, “A football game would have officers that would come in, stay at the stadium, help with parking, and those kinds of things. We look at other sporting events, we would go into them just to make sure everything is Kosher,” Santora said.
These days, it’s very different, he said.
“You used to see lots of people roaming around during the day, and now it’s just a scarce amount of people at the top of the hour on certain days, and whenever class ends,” Santora said.
In the residence halls, the CAs have also been dealing with the COVID-19 changes.
Peter LaLumiere, a community advisor for about a year, has had to adjust to new responsibilities.
“Mask policies were a big adjustment for everybody, at the beginning especially going around having to remind people that you have to be wearing your mask all the time,” LaLumiere said.
Castleton is known for being more of a party school, but with fewer students in the residence halls, the parties have declined.
“Parties, if they are the same size, they are a big no-no with an extra little cherry on top because of the whole COVID-19 situation. I think there are less people so I am seeing less parties and stuff like that,” LaLumiere said.
But LaLumiere said Covid 19 has brought a new set of challenges. He has had to deal more with changes in the focus on both the mental and physical health of the students, but he said that does not hinder the job.
Things are different, but LaLumiere still enjoys what he is doing.
“I think morale-wise as a CA it has been the same. I have friends here, but for me, the more the merrier … Wear your mask, it makes my job easier and it keeps us safe, so do that please.”