By Brady Cote
As Springfield College welcomes its full student population back onto campus, in-person classes are right around the corner.
Starting this week: Monday, Feb. 8, students will be transitioning from learning in their dormitories and making their way safely to their respective classrooms.
A number of classes will remain fully remote, but some students may now have the opportunity to attend at least a portion of classes in person.
These past two weeks, students were expected to begin their semester online over zoom, an application that has become quite familiar within the past year. After patiently waiting the appropriate fourteen-day period after arrival on campus, it was announced that in-person classes would soon take effect.
Students on campus are looking for even the slightest bit of normalcy in their college lives, as it seems that all are being stripped of basic human interaction.
Rece Gobel, a sophomore on campus, expressed his feelings, thoughts and level of comfortability on returning to the classroom.
“I’m excited that we’re starting in person,” Gobel stated. “I feel as easy as the online classes are, you definitely get more out of it when you’re in person.”
Alongside his excitement was an underlying layer of concern regarding the rest of the student population arriving on campus.
“I think we should maybe have gone at least another week online,” Gobel said. “It makes no sense that we all came back, went two weeks virtually, but then they’re coming back and within 2-3 days, we’re back to in-person classes.”
As much as students want to be back in the classroom, a lot are uneasy and worried about their safety, especially due to the number of cases that have been recorded thus far.
“I definitely don’t feel comfortable about it because it’s just very unpredictable,” said sophomore Julia Florek. “There need to be less people in the room, every class should be split up if it has more than 12 people or so, depending on the classroom size itself. They should just do half online and half in person.”
Out of the 1,753 COVID-19 tests administered, there have already been 16 positive cases between Jan. 30 through Feb. 4, resulting in a 0.913 percent positivity rate on campus.
Similar to the students, professors are faced with the same complications that the pandemic has brought about. They were forced to teach remotely and now are challenged with the commencement of in-person classes. To ensure the safety of their students, professors are going to great lengths to make sure that these in-person classes can continue successfully.
“In the mac lab, we have sixteen computers under normal protocol and we have now removed every other one leaving eight,” said professor Kyle Belanger. “My goal is to get the number of students in our classroom below that eight.”
Not only is Belanger taking the preventative safety measures, but he also understands the importance of the students’ comfortability.
“If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught me, at large, it’s that we have to respect every person’s individual level of comfort, and that is not something that I take lightly.”
Resembling the students’ excitement to escape the zoom classes, professors are also very excited to teach in the classroom.
“I’m really looking forward to this coming week,” said professor Laura Dubowski. “I tried to make all of my classes face-to-face last semester.”
Eager to return to the classroom, Professor Dubowski is making sure that it is going to be a safe environment for her students. All of her classes will be e-engaged + meaning that it is up to the students if they feel comfortable to attend class in person vs online.
Having classes in person is a crucial aspect of college, not only for educational purposes, but socially as well. Since the start of this horrid pandemic, it has become very hard to meet new people. It was a culture shock that everyone has adjusted to.
“I’m really excited to meet new people, I feel like COVID isolates you and who you’re around. I’m excited to make new connections with my peers and professors,” said Freshmen Hannah Hibbert.
“I genuinely enjoy going to class and I think a lot about what you get out of going to in-person classes is that relationship and mutual understanding of who you are as a professor and who you are as a student.”
With in-person classes resuming shortly, it will give students the opportunity to socialize and build relationships with their peers. It is up to both the students and professors to ensure that the safety of the in-person classes will continue, ultimately restoring a sense of normalcy to the Springfield College campus.
Photo: Jack Margaros/The Student