The Tomato

Photo: Dasser Kamran/Fulcrum
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The sight of the beak masks has frightened many on campus

As the University of Ottawa begins a new semester in unprecedented times, certain courses have been permitted to host in-person components, such as labs.

However, one professor leading a physical course has upped her standards for physical protection. Corey Sette, a theatre professor, has made the bubonic plague-era facial masks mandatory for her course.

Sette, who teaches THE3167 – Global Costume Design, thought that her requirement would make the course more interesting.

“I made these [masks] mandatory to help provide some level of immersion to students,” Sette explained in a phone interview. “A big part of theatre are expressions, and I hope that these masks can let students express themselves a little bit more.”

Sette also created a contest for students to participate in for the first day of classes: whoever wore the best plague doctor costume to class would get a “get out of jail free” pass.

“Professor Sette’s ‘get out of jail free’ policy allows any student to submit an assignment late for up to a week with no penalties,” said Scott Free, a student in THE3167. “It’d be awesome to win it.”

“I’m a big fan of fashion from that era, so this was just an excuse to be myself,” Di Daniels, another student, agreed. “I’ve been trying to make bubonic plague masks a thing for years.”

This isn’t the first time Sette has used real-world events to make her class interesting; during the 2018 Olympics, she had her students dress up in their favourite figure skating costumes.