I Asked 25 Students About Returning to School This Fall, and Feelings Were Mixed
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I Asked 25 Students About Returning to School This Fall, and Feelings Were Mixed

Is a return to normalcy putting us at more risk than we already were?

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I Asked 25 Students About Returning to School This Fall, and Feelings Were Mixed

It's not a massive secret that student health services aren't exactly every person's favorite place to visit on campus, and many people don't expect that the services they already avoided are going to get any better.

When students were asked if they expected their university health services to be equipped to handle this pandemic, 60% of students said no, a number I didn't necessarily find shocking. Students from two Big Ten Universities (Ohio State and Purdue) said that there are too many students and not enough appointments, and that this fact has remained true throughout their time at the university. If student health services can't handle the flu, how are students expected to believe that they can handle a largely infectious disease and mass quarantines. Students who have tried to visit their university's clinics said that most of them struggle when cold season hits and college students are stricken with stuffy noses and coughs. 28% of students said they were unsure that their clinic could handle the pandemic, which suggests that they are unlikely to put their trust in the clinic which they are forced to pay fees for. Just 3 people answered yes to their university being equipped. One student reported that these clinics should have had enough time to figure it out, and another said that their university had already put out a statement about the preparedness of their health services.

Despite just three people saying that they expected student health services to be equipped, 9 people (3x the previous) said that they would use student health services, even during the pandemic. One student said that the university said they had to use student health services because students are required to get tested upon their return, but said that they didn't trust the university as is, so it sounds like even some students who will use the services would rather not. Others said that the only reason they would use student health services is just because it's the only thing available for them to use, because they are too far from home or because they are on the student insurance. 10 students said that they were unsure about using the clinics, many of them waiting to make a clear decision until they saw how the services were and reports from their friends.

Aside from student health services, students are worried about their return. Many believe that other students will struggle to follow protocol on campus, or simply that there are too many students returning to campus. While Purdue University plans to start classes August 24, others are changing move-in dates, or not even guaranteeing a return to residential education. 17 students (68%) say that they do not expect their university to finish the semester as expected.

As students return to campus, there is a lot of risk. While I myself am jumping at a chance to return to some form of normalcy, I share a lot of the same concerns as others. While some students have put their faith in their university, expecting that the place they pay significant amounts of money to will be there to protect them, others share the fears of being in a situation where an outbreak occurs across their campus. Will all students be able to return to the residential experience? Will it be healthy? Will we all be sent home by Halloween?

I can't answer these questions, but I can say that while students are ready to return, the thought of getting sick and using student health services seems like an overarching fear. If we can't rely on health care, can we rely on our university at all? Purdue is looking at possibly 30,000 + returning on August 24. Should we be returning at all?


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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