Students worry about coming back after break

The 2020 holiday season came quickly but not fast enough. COVID-19 has left many awaiting the holidays even more than usual during these recent months of tribulations. As students everywhere prepare for finals in these abnormal times, some are preparing to go entirely online.

Universities prepared for the fall 2020 academic calendar in the spring, and the second wave was a topic of discussion for all. The University of Georgia will conclude in-person course work after Thanksgiving break. Students going home and staying home may be the best move to avoid a resurgence on campus. 

“There’s Thanksgiving, and then they’re back again and then home for Christmas — we wanted to avoid all those dispersals and reunions,” Paul Browne, vice president of the University of Notre Dame, told The New York Times after taking a similar approach. 

COVID-19 has thrown us uncertainties since March, and now we see the effects of a second wave. Countries are preparing for lockdown as numbers rise. Limiting travel is a critical step in prevention that has been tossed to the side as the U.S. tried to move past COVID-19’s initial hit. 

Georgia State decided to follow a regular academic calendar, with students coming back to campus after traveling for Thanksgiving, just to go right back home after finals. With all of this unnecessary travel, we may see a surge in Atlanta. 

Sierra Pickering, a sophomore at Georgia State, is concerned about traveling during the holidays. 

“People are going to be traveling to meet other people who are possibly infected, then travel back and infect other students on campus,” Pickering said.

It is essential to realize that all of these decisions have not been easy. Universities had to figure out how to handle thousands of students, and misjudgment is more than likely. 

Georgia State may have taken a different approach, but it does have something in common with UGA: students pay full fees. 

Even though they claim to be providing resources for students, many students are unhappy with what is actually being provided and at what cost. 

We are paying the same amount of money we would if we had all activities [and] classes operating at full capacity when, in reality, there is nothing going on around Athens and on UGA’s campus,” UGA junior Anna Brogan said.

Furthermore, with students going home for Thanksgiving, they pay fees for weeks they will not even be on campus. While this logic may be valid for some, students believe that these decisions benefit the universities financially at their expense. 

“I feel they are confident about getting their money, but not about the safety and well-being of their students,” Brogan said. 

Both universities are financially motivated, even though only 31% of their revenues come from tuition and fees. Even though these COVID-19-related decisions are not easy, students are not money machines.

COVID-19 is out of the universities’ control, and sometimes hard decisions need to be made. However, students are completely in their control and are at a loss when they continue to cut corners. 

Universities need to be confident in the decisions they make for our safety and well being, even if they walk away with their pockets empty.