Illinois college student juggles the excitement of returning to campus with the concern over Covid-19

Damonte Hill. (Courtesy of Damonte Hill)

With just one year left at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Damonte Hill finds himself at odds over being thrilled about being back on campus and concerned about Covid-19.

The university requires masks indoors for those vaccinated and unvaccinated against Covid-19, Hill told CNN over email.

Hill admits he was hesitant to get the vaccine at first but after talking to his doctor, saying that “he helped to answer the questions I had so I felt comfortable enough” to get it.

“I would say that the concerns about Covid do worry me, but I think that having faith, which is a big part of me and also wearing my mask and getting vaccinated will help me to not worry about those concerns,” he said.

Hill, a communications major, thrives under in-person instruction and hopes of attending seminary school starting a non-profit organization upon graduation.

Vaccine hesitancy persists: Black people are the most undervaccinated racial or ethnic group in the US. More than 45% of the US population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but coverage among Black people is less than half of that, at about 22%.

“These lower rates may be due in part, to vaccine hesitancy, but they may also be due to inequities in vaccine access,” Dr. Lisa Cooper, founder of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, told CNN. “Many African Americans in the South live in rural areas with limited access to health care facilities. Furthermore, many people may have other stressors related to housing, food, or job insecurity, which may be preventing them from getting vaccinated.”


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