While many colleges plan to reopen their campuses and function like normal (or very close to it), that may not be the best decision for their staff and students.
During this holiday season many are anticipating spending time with their loved ones as a positive way to close off a seemingly negative year. This is the time where you cherish and celebrate with the ones you love and care about, a time that should be enjoyed.
Given the closeness that many are longing for, colleges should remain online throughout the Spring 2021 semester. Many students will be catching flights or making extensive road trips to visit their families this month and remain at risk for catching COVID.
The likelihood of social distancing at the dinner table is slim and wearing masks in your own house may not be a rule for many but it’s important to remember the virus is still spreading. Washing your hands frequently should still be a habit as well as regular testing.
With all the traveling in mind, keeping colleges closed may be the safer option in the bigger picture. States like California are restarting stay-at-home orders in the wake of a surge in positive COVID results while other states like Florida and Georgia remain open. Not knowing who is going where and what germs may already be there brings enough uncertainty, and even puts fear in some.
Erica Melvin a senior nursing student at FAMU, plans to return home to Miami for the holidays as she promised to them earlier in the year.
“Staying here may be safer but I haven’t seen my family since before COVID started and I’m not about to miss Christmas this year,” Melvin said. She confirmed that the pandemic made her appreciate family and friends more than ever after reading reports of the fatalities from the virus.
While most students plan on returning home, some won’t be leaving Tallahassee. Senior social work scholar Daziah Hargrove is a prime example.
“I miss my mom but she’s in Virginia and I don’t want to be anywhere colder than here,” Hargrove said. She said after weighing the pros and cons she finds it wiser to stay in town and make her own holiday traditions.
Some may not have to leave the comfort of their home because their families are traveling to them. Sophomore Naturie Small, an English major, is one of those about to welcome her family.
“Once I told my parents I was scared to go home they immediately made reservations to be here with me,” said Small. She appreciates the sacrifice being made and hopes to enjoy a quarantine Christmas with her parents and siblings who are coming from Philadelphia.
Whether they’re staying here, going home, or have family coming to them, students this year are celebrating either way. Because mandatory testing to enroll may be easier said than done, colleges should continue online learning throughout the upcoming semester.