By Mason Poepperling / Staff writer

It’s been three years since Covid-19 was at its peak in the United States and around the world.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Three years ago, the halls of the Hutchinson Community College campus were as empty as a ghost town. Cars in parking lots were sparse and people on campus were few and far between.

The halls are full again, barely anyone is wearing masks anymore, and everything on campus seems to be running as usual.

“People are less likely to flinch if you cough or sneeze,” said Kelsey Dame, a transfer specialist at HutchCC.

But it’s not just on campus. Dan Nacarrato, HutchCC’s business instructor, and Tricia Paramore, the vice president of academic affairs, explained the differences seen in the business world and in the world in general now that we’ve seen in the three years since the peak of Covid-19.

“More employers are flexible about allowing workers to stay at home,” Nacarrato said. “As long as they’re getting the work time, maybe they don’t have to worry about getting into the office. I think that’s had implications about the work week and about the value of commercial office space.”

Paramore said the world had to adjust to many aspects of life on the fly.

“We experienced things unprecedented in recent world history and everyone had to learn how to make it work. Society learned to bend,” Paramore said. “The Covid crisis certainly placed a needed spotlight on mental health, the value of social interaction, and the benefits of flexibility.”

Even with the considerable amount of change in the world, there’s still more change to come before we get to exactly where we were before Covid-19.

“Faculty and students learned a lot during COVID, and I think many are finding that those new tools they learned to use during the pandemic can be used in a variety of ways.  I’m encouraged by the creativity of our faculty and students” Paramore said.

Whatever the future holds, compared with 2020, there’s nowhere to go but up.

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