YES v. NO: Do you feel safe coming back to campus?

Nick Stupka and Katie Foster

YES (written by Nick Stupka)

As students continue their studies through the pandemic, some may worry about their safety and wellbeing while being on campus and going to face to face classes. But as it seems, Ashland University is doing their best to ensure safety while preserving the social experiences some students need to thrive.

Some students tend to learn better in an actual classroom as opposed to talking to their peers and professors through a screen, so the opportunity to do so may improve a student’s ability and willingness to learn during the pandemic.

If the physical environment poses an issue for some students, the university is ensuring that proper social distancing is taking place in each classroom, regular sanitizing is being performed after each class session and all students and professors are required to wear a mask or face covering both in class and around campus.

Another smart decision the university was implementing hybrid courses; putting some classes on a rotation of being in-person and online. This ensures that students will still have some much needed engagement every week while also staying safe.

Also, if students are worried about the impact this format may have on their performance, policies and professors have become increasingly understanding and flexible, ensuring that students get the help and positive reinforcement they need.

With a positive plan to ensure students’ safety while they live on campus, Ashland University’s decision to allow students to return to campus in a somewhat ‘normal’ environment is well-executed and allows everyone to have a much needed dose of normalcy in these very abnormal times.

Logan O’Lasky prepares for a class in Founder’s Hall with Dr. Vaughan. (Avaerie Fitzgerald)

NO (written by Katie Foster)

As students are settling into campus for the spring semester, there are concerns if holding hybrid classes is safest for everyone at Ashland University.

Despite the university’s best efforts to keep all faculty and students safe, they are not able to control what people do off campus and therefore it is not a good idea to hold classes in person because it only helps to spread the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the closer you interact with others and the longer the interaction, there is a higher risk of the coronavirus spreading.

With this in mind, college students are being exposed more than ever because they are going out in public or coming into contact with someone who chooses to.

There are other concerns that arise from having hybrid classes and being back on campus.
Being around students and professors in a small space like a classroom, can potentially expose you to the coronavirus. Also, not all students are willing to follow protocols the university has put in place, which makes it much easier for the virus to spread around campus.

Although the college required a negative Covid-19 test in order to come back to campus, students may have developed symptoms days later. The CDC says symptoms can arise 2-14 days after one is exposed to the virus. Although an AU student may have passed their coronavirus test the day of move in, they could still be carrying the virus and eventually develop symptoms.

In order to stay safe while attending Ashland University and still have fun on and off campus, it is recommended to wear a mask everywhere you go, stay six feet away from others, and avoid large gatherings to prevent getting Covid-19.

However, many AU students are still going to parties or hanging out with larger groups of friends. They are avoiding guidelines that have been put in place for their safety.

If people continue to overlook these rules, AU could possibly go completely remote for the rest of the semester.

It can also be hard for Ashland University to ensure every door handle, computer mouse, chair, etc. we touch or use has been sanitized. With these concerns in mind, the university should not have used this model for the spring semester.

Many colleges in Ohio including Oberlin College, Kent State University and Ohio State University have decided to hold classes completely online for the time being.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has changed college experiences tremendously. With all the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, it has really disrupted the learning of college students.

Having hybrid classes only adds to the confusion and students end up having a more difficult schedule than they normally would. Classes should have been held completely online or completely in person this semester because it would have given students some form of consistency.

Students have been struggling all year with trying to become accustomed to hybrid classes. If Covid-19 is still an issue for the Fall 2021 semester, there should be a change in the learning format.