At Home? The Fate of College Classes in September 2020

Seniors+enjoy+their+Spirit+Days+in+school%2C+blissfully+unaware+that+after+March+16%2C+2020%2C+there+would+be+no+more+in-person+Class+of+2020+events+for+the+rest+of+the+academic+year%2C+due+to+the+Coronavirus+pandemic.+

Eshika Talukder

Seniors enjoy their Spirit Days in school, blissfully unaware that after March 16, 2020, there would be no more in-person Class of 2020 events for the rest of the academic year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

High school seniors across the world have faced the cancellation of events that hold great sentimental value to them during their formative years. Events such as graduation and prom have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has spread around the world. Current high school seniors are hoping that college in the fall will bring about a positive and normalizing change. However, due to the current trajectory of the Coronavirus pandemic, this may not be the reality when September 2020 arrives. 

Colleges across the nation have closed their spring semester classes as advised by the C.D.C. Though difficult, it has proved to be  successful with helping to prevent the spread of the virus. Many universities have recently announced school closures for the fall 2020 semester as well, such as the California State University system and Harvard Medical School. An anticipated vaccine for COVID-1o is still predicted to be at least 12 to 18 months away, which makes a permanent solution to this crisis much less probable in the immediate future. The prospect of switching from regular classes to online classes in colleges this fall has caused frustration amongst Bronx Science seniors.

Students feel that college is an environment that they pay for, not only to receive the education from professors face to face, but for the rich social experiences as well. Keya Dutta ’20 said, “The uncertainty robbed us of our pre-college jitters and the ability to savor our last memories of high school. Now, we are forced to deal with this change, where it feels like we are never going to get there, for whatever reason.” The unknown, especially to eager students who look forward to attending college, can cause worry about future careers and goals. “College online would be a new frontier, but I don’t think I’m ready for that much change. I want the college experience that I see on T.V. and hear about from friends. If not, then why are we paying so much in tuition?” Dutta said.  

Because of the uncertainty of the Coronavirus’ trajectory, there have been no firm dates regarding when students will be back on college campuses in the future. The reality of the situation is that the Coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact upon colleges worldwide, more than for one semester only. 

At a basic level, there is a need for physical distancing due to COVID-19 that may be impossible to achieve on a college campus. However, in addition to health issues, economic issues have also surfaced. Students may not be comfortable with the usual routine of taking out loans or paying for school during an economic recession. Decisions to take gap years and choosing schools that are closer to home or less expensive may become more prevalent. This would not only have an impact on the student population but also on the colleges themselves. 

“After ending my senior year at school so shortly and abruptly, college is something that we can all look forward to. A new experience in a different state is just what I need after staying home for so long. But of course, there is so much uncertainty regarding the opening of schools this fall,” Saachi Patel ’20 said.

There is the understanding that the Coronavirus affects all people and that actions taken now are for the greater good for the protection and overall benefit of the population. However, the uncertainty of what the future will bring is frustrating for high school seniors. “If we were to have online courses this fall, it would only be fair for the colleges to reduce tuition costs and for room and board costs to be completely cut. However, I remain hopeful; with high volumes of testing, I believe that colleges will be able to mitigate the spread across campuses,” Patel said.

There is still a possibility that universities will be able to function, at least to some extent, as they always have this fall. Seniors in high school across the world are counting on it.

There is still a possibility that universities will be able to function, at least to some extent, as they always have this fall. Seniors in high school across the world are counting on it.

 

 

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