Students’ Feelings on Returning to Campus

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photo from unsplash

Patrick Nalty

Two weeks into classes, students have begun to settle into the new way of life post-quarantine here at Bucks. While some students have concerns about safety policies, many are far more comfortable than they were a year ago.
“I am so excited that classes are back in person, and I am 100% comfortable returning,” said Maria Morales, 20, a nursing major.
“I prefer in-person classes because I feel like I learn better that way,” said Eamon Gavigan, 20, a Sports Management major. “I don’t really mind the masks either, because at Bucks there isn’t anyone yelling at us like they do at airports.”
The sentiment at Bucks is consistent with the majority of US college students. Recent research by Survey Monkey suggests students this fall are less concerned about returning to campus relative to last year.
Researchers surveyed more than 1,500 college students and found that, compared to 2020, fewer students are finding the pandemic “very disruptive” to their daily campus experience (39% in 2021 versus 61% in 2021). The research revealed, in fact, that 82% of participants said they are “extremely, very or somewhat comfortable.”
Bucks, like other schools and businesses, is following CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and wearing masks. Students have varying reactions to the impact of these measures.
“I don’t really care that I have to wear a mask because I only have two classes in the mornings,” said Morales. The nursing major works part time at a Doylestown diner, and said she is used to wearing masks over the past year.
“It’s not that big of a deal to wear one, and it helps reduce the virus spread.”
Still, other students struggle with what they see as contradictions in state and local guidelines.
“I love the in-person classes but one thing I do not like is that we are packed in there like sardines,” said Danya Danekyants, a business major at Bucks. “What is the point of a mask when I can’t even move my elbows in class?”
“I personally don’t mind being back in person for my academics,” said Chris Mehlmann, 21, a health science major. The Doylestown native does not feel the COVID safety measures affect his ability to focus in class.
Mehlmann, however, was surprised by some of the vaccination incentives, which include a “Vaxx Blitz” that offers students $100 if they get vaccinations on campus. Students can also enter a raffle to win free tuition for a year. “I do feel slightly pressured by Bucks to be vaccinated as they have been pushing out incentives to get one,” said Mehlmann.
Still, several students say university safety policies are contributing to student comfort level.
“I feel as though Bucks and its staff are trying their best to ensure the safety of their students and themselves,” said Morales. Gavigan also believes that Bucks has done a good job of balancing the needs for safety and creating a positive learning environment. “As we’ve seen in the news, there is always someone to criticize whatever decisions a school or office makes,” said Gavigan. “So you can’t please everyone.”