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Back to campus

Gazette student columnist discusses what 'back to normal' means

Student Life

By Madilyn Miller

We are back to drinking iced coffee at ridiculously low temperatures on campus and the familiar classrooms and lecture halls.

Welcome back everyone! How are we feeling?

I’ve actually asked some of you how you feel about being back, and not every response was positive.

Mixed feelings

There are mixed feelings on this decision.

Some are angry, as many immunocompromised students are now more at risk while being on campus during a spike of COVID-19 cases, and their worries have not been eased or addressed with the detail they need.

However, other students thought that reopening campus can be beneficial, as they could not handle online school and the chaos it created. Indeed, we all know online learning is not easy for most, no one is doubting that.

However, one student put it very well: Why right now? Why not just wait until the cases die down? Some say that we may just shut down again anyway due to heightened exposure. Whether or not this will actually happen is hard to say, one can only hope that we are all responsible in the coming weeks.

“Many of us feel helpless and out of control during the latest wave of cases.”

So, what exactly do students want to happen? From what I’ve seen and read, a lot of us simply want to be listened to.

I cannot speak for everyone, but many of us feel helpless and out of control during the latest wave of cases, and this decision adds to our worsening anxieties.

It is admittedly hard to think of everything, especially with big decisions like this. Therefore, this is not an attack on those involved in making this decision at all, but rather an expression of student opinion regarding this situation. Many disagree with the decision to reopen campus.

‘Normal’ no longer accessible

But the quality of education is undoubtedly higher in person, and many instructors are not used to teaching online classes.

Could there have been a better way to go about this? Absolutely.

But it’s easy to say that things have been done wrong when there was so much at stake with this decision, although I think that students should have had more of a say.

However, we are all tired of this pandemic. Anyone who says students are just lazy and don’t want to return to class are willingly ignoring the fact that this is our education being affected, and that is not lost on us; we are not ignorant of how exhausting it can be to be isolated.

Many of us want to go “back to normal,” but we know that normal is no longer accessible, and we should not act as if it is.

“It is a comfort … to feel supported by those who care about our health.”

The choice to reopen campus when we had 166 cases [on Feb. 7] according to the provincial government’s COVID-19 hub is unwise.

When it comes down to choosing between the overall health of students and faculty and staff versus education, the choice should not be a hard one.

With that, I don’t mean improving the conditions on campus — as of right now they seem to be okay — what I actually mean is that campus may not be safe regardless of the rules due to the current COVID-19 situation in the province.

Much appreciation

I’d like to be optimistic and say that despite misgivings, this will hopefully work.

I’d also like to extend thanks to those professors who continue to accommodate online courses as of right now; it is a comfort when the COVID-19 situation is worse once again to feel supported by those who care about our health.

Either way, it is good to be back. Stay safe everyone!

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