Students voice concerns about returning to in-person education this fall.

Now that the school year has arrived and students must go back to campus, many are curious about what changes they will see inside and out of the classroom. Photo by Stone Ray | The Signal

With the number of COVID-19 cases back on the rise, many students are apprehensive about making their way back to campus. As the world is trying to make its way back to normal, much of what students remember about campus will not be the same.

Now that the school year has arrived and students must go back to campus, many are curious about what changes they will see inside and out of the classroom. 

In light of these changes, Elijah Fleury, a senior managerial science major, recently reflected on his virtual academic experience, including the improvements in his grades and the difficulties he faced.

“I enjoyed having the ability to complete class on my own time, but it [became] difficult [to find] access [to] help in the subjects that I struggled with,” Fleury said. “It has been an uphill battle to retain the information [that was] taught during this past year.”

Feeling just as overwhelmed as Fleury, senior computer information science major Elizabeth Oluokun decided to take this fall semester off in response to some different concerns about the transition back to campus.

“My online learning experience was honestly difficult and inconsistent. It was hard to remember to check iCollege for assignments and other [projects] on a [regular] basis,” Oluokun said. “It kind of made me put a halt on my own education and desire to continue school.”

With there already being a significant amount of pressure surrounding academics and remembering last year’s material following the pandemic, students worry about what social changes they will experience after being isolated from their peers.

Having witnessed the effects of the coronavirus through his friends and peers, Fleury understands that this might change how students not only interact with others but the campus itself.

“Many students had different experiences this past year which may change their thoughts, feelings, habits and even how much time they will spend on campus,” Fleury said. “For many, they spent the entire year having their loved ones contract the virus and even pass away.”

Thinking about another group of students, Fleury also feels like some of his peers will try and disregard the effects of the pandemic and treat it as if it never happened.

“A lot of the students that I have seen [on] tours [during] orientation have either been wearing masks or gone without it,” Fleury said. “ I still think there will be a bit of hesitation for some people to make an effort and connect with others.”

With health and safety being the number one priority for students, parents and faculty, Fleury and Oluokun both believe that things will only get better as long as everyone does their part to stay protected.

“I believe that students who have major concerns about their health will adhere to proper COVID-19 procedures,” Oluokun said. “That means wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and staying six feet apart from one another.”

“The best thing that we can do is continue to practice the same procedures we have learned to keep us clean, safe and protected,” Fleury said. “All we can do is hope for the best overall throughout the school year.”