Are we really going back to normal next semester?

Four students voice their opinion on what things may look like in the fall.

Leslie Farrera-Perez, Variety Reporter

There is no telling when college (and much less the world) will be back to normal. As the idea of more people getting vaccinated by the fall circles around, questions arise concerning what the fall semester may look like. 

Sophomore Chloe Brunkow is not completely ruling out in-person classes in the fall, but above all, her safety is a priority.

“So much is unknown still with how the vaccine is progressing,” Brunkow said. “But I would really like to think that some classes could be hybrid. Maybe send a survey to students to see the comfort level of students before progressing any further. My thoughts are I want to feel safe and protected in whatever situation presented. If that means classes online next semester to get a quality, safe education, that is what I will do,” Brunkow said.

Additionally, Brunkow is taking into consideration that going completely back to normal in the fall could affect people around her.

“I know many people who are at a higher risk because of the virus. I would rather take classes online again if it means that I am able to visit them, with masks and social distancing, and not risk their health and safety or mine,” Brunkow said.

First year Taleah Alldritt believes if the vaccine is available by the fall, it will present an opportunity for a better quality college experience.

If we have a vaccine available I definitely want to be in person. I am paying so much money for my education and I would 100% prefer learning in person to make real connections with classmates and professors,” Alldritt said. “It is almost impossible to do when you go to virtual class every day and the majority of students have their cameras and microphones off.” 

Although driving less is convenient as a commuter, Alldritt would prefer safe in-person classes.

It can be inconvenient when I’m expected to attend an in-person class with no option for virtual attendance. However, I think my opinion has changed since the beginning of the semester. In-person classes get me out of the house and bring back some sort of routine and normality that isn’t sitting at a desk all day. My few in-person classes have given me a sense of what being a college student is supposed to feel like,” Alldritt said.

Sophomore Dean Young prefers to be in person, but if things are not 100% safe he is okay online.

“It really boils down to just ‘what are the guidelines?’ How safe things are. I would be okay continuing online.” Young said. “There are two categories of classes I would really like to see in person if it’s safe, which would be music ensembles and science labs. It would be nice to have other classes in person, but I think professors have worked to make it so online classes are just as effective.”

Because things are constantly changing, Young is not certain of the possibility of being in person next semester.

“I was looking at how effective immune responses were to the mutations, because now people are worried about mutations making the vaccines not as effective. It looks like the jury’s still out on that. There’s mixed results. I don’t know if we will be in person,” Young said.

Junior Crystal Camacho is hoping for safe social interaction next semester, but stresses that people should follow guidelines.

“I know once students are able to get vaccinated and their turns come, it will be on all of us to be responsible, get the vaccine and continue to follow guidelines set by professionals. That way, we can go back to in-person classes and maskless activities,” Camacho said.

Camacho thinks increased vaccine availability alone is insufficient to be fully in person next semester. She thinks it all comes down to Hamline’s policies.

“I want to see Hamline implement a system to keep track of who is vaccinated and who isn’t, and use that to determine who can be in person,” Camacho said. “Some students don’t wear their masks right or cover their noses, which doesn’t give me confidence for next semester. I want to be in person and go back to doing fun things like full choir rehearsals unmasked, or Fireball, but I will gladly wait to do those things until I feel Hamline really has a grasp on things and is doing everything in their power to make that transition safe for us.”