I was a proud student at Miami University. Yes, I said was. Not because I graduated or transferred, but because this morning myself and the rest of Miami University's student body received an email stating that we would be returning to campus this month.
You might be asking "Why are you so upset? Most students would LOVE to be going back to college. Consider yourself lucky."
And this is what I say to that...
We already have over 1,000 positive cases.
Miami University didn't open classrooms or most dorms at the beginning of the semester, but that didn't stop upperclassmen from moving into their off-campus houses and apartments. With parties, bars, restaurants, and stores around campus being at only HALF the capacity, a few face-to-face classes and sports, and little to no underclassmen in the dorms, the campus was still about to rack up over 1,000 cases in a month. I can't imagine how quickly COVID-19 will spread once the campus is in (mostly) full swing again.
Online classes are an option, but they come at a cost.
When Miami University made the decision to start classes online and wait until early September to decide on if they were going to go back in-person or not, the students were given fully online and hybrid options, but if the classes you signed up for over the summer (pre-fully online until September decision) weren't offered fully online, then you were expected to either drop the classes that would be requiring you to come back face-to-face when/if classes did, or suck it up and come face-to-face, and I know this to be true because I tried. As someone who lives close enough to campus to drive there for my required in-person classes, it wasn't as big of a deal, but I can't imagine the stress of those who live far away and have to make the decision to risk their health by coming back to campus or dropping their classes. To me, this part is the most infuriating.
There are students and teachers who are at risk.
As one of the students who are at risk, I was really hoping that Miami would make the decision to keep everyone, especially their immunocompromised and elderly population, safe, but I was very wrong. Now, there will be at-risk freshmen and sophomores living in communal dorms, and elderly professors teaching inside small classrooms, most of which were probably strictly quarantining before this announcement. I have only seen a handful of people since Miami closed its campus in early March this year so that I didn't get sick, but now I'm forced to attend class with 30-plus people, most of which probably aren't following the social distancing and masking rules Miami is "enforcing" outside of class. I don't think this decision was made with the health of all, but especially those who are at risk, in mind.
The whole situation is very contradicting
They made the decision to send us home in early March after having ZERO positive cases on campus, but yet they're sending us back with MORE THAN 1,000. it doesn't make sense. They said in their latest email that "the past weeks have shown how quickly the virus can spread," yet they're deciding that adding more people to the mix will do anything but further add to the spread. You can tell students to wear a mask, social distance, and wash their hands all you want, but if the 1,000 cases don't prove most aren't listening, then I don't know what will.
Students and teachers need consistency.
They gave us a day heads up in March that we would be switching from fully in-person to fully online for the rest of the spring semester. Then this summer when we signed up for classes, most of them said in-person, but as the fall semester crept closer, some of our classes started switching to online or hybrid until the first week in August (about two weeks before classes started). Then, we get an email saying we're fully online until at least September 21, and they would let us know the plan around Memorial Day. Then today, we got an email saying we are going back mostly in person. As a student not knowing how your class is going to be taught, if you're going to need to move back to campus, etc. is SO frustrating and makes me feel constantly overwhelmed. I can't even imagine how the teachers are feeling with this mess of a school year as well since most of them aren't informed until they get the email at the same time students do.
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I know everyone wants to get back to normal life and returning back to college is one of those things that allow us to feel normal again, but there is nothing normal about the students, faculty, and families of those students and faculty members at Miami possibly getting deathly ill.
I just think as a school with the motto "Love and Honor," there's no better way of loving and honoring each other than by not putting each other at risk of getting sick.
Maybe that's just me though.