By Nick Chuisano, Makayla Cook and Tatiana Rivera
\William Peace University allowed its students and staff to return to so-called “normal operations” starting Feb. 8, with a mix of in-person, virtual and hybrid courses.
The new routine caused mixed feelings among students, who in a set of interviews conducted by the Peace Times were overwhelmingly glad to be back on campus — but also concerned about everything from the variety of class formats to their health.
Sophomore biology major and softball player Logan Blackmon was thrilled yet hesitant about returning to the class setting.
“I’m excited about going back to in-person classes due to my learning style,” said Blackmon. “But I’m also wary about them because I’m afraid an outbreak will jeopardize our softball season.”
Students interviewed by Makayla Cook shared their experiences on Feb. 8 the first day back to in-person classes.
Some Peace athletes are dubious about going back to in-person instruction because of another inevitable outbreak of COVID-19, worried that a smaller institution like WPU is at a higher risk for shut down with fewer overall cases.
Sophomore pre-law major and baseball player Ethan May is in favor of returning to the classroom only if precautionary measures are executed.
“I believe it’s great to return to in-person instruction,” said May. “As long as we all are following protocols to keep ourselves and others safe.”
Junior writing major and Sam Peddycord reflects on virtual instruction and how it has affected his learning experience.
“This has really affected my academic life because of the entire “online school” factor,” said Peddycord. “It has made things a lot different, while it hasn’t really affected my grades.
Aidan Callahan, a first-year student, was ecstatic to return to in-person classes. The pandemic has made it a requirement for everyone to wear a mask in order to protect themselves from the virus. WPU follows this rule, requiring all students to wear a mask while also maintaining social distance.
“It was really good,” said Callahan. “It was nice to see everyone masked up and not on a computer screen.”
Alexia Moore, a senior and biology major, also showed some positivity for this new semester. With students being deprived of interactions with others due to online classes, there was excitement to return to school in-person and being able to spend time with friends.
“It was really great. I was able to see my old friends [and] see my professors,” she said.
Classes with a lot of students in them went to hybrid scheduling, so that students could organize their students into small groups that meet in-person only one time a week.
Sijade Nedd, a sophomore and psychology major, found his experience back in-person to be great. “I’m not a virtual learner, so it was good to see professors face-to-face,” he said.
Yamila Emanuel, a sophomore and exercise and sports science major, also had something similar to say about the professors.
“It was great being able to interact with the teachers in person,” she said.
Other students weren’t so sure about the return to campus. Stephanie Romero-Reyes, a senior and criminal justice major, believed that the school should have kept classes virtual rather than going back in-person.
“I definitely feel like we should be online,” Romero-Reyes said. “I want to be in-person, but I feel like with everything going on, online would be the better option.”