By Jeremy Kaufman
This September has been the first time in a while that I’ve sat in a classroom. For many of us, it may have been months or even over a year since the last in-person class. For me, the return to in-person classes is exciting and only one of my courses is online. However, for other people, I am sure the return to campus is stressful. This is especially true for those who suffer health risks or have vulnerable families.
However, campus life this year is not without restrictions. Students are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors when they cannot socially distance themselves. Nevertheless, the atmosphere this semester is much different compared to the worst days of the pandemic. When I first walked on the campus on August 30, I was quite surprised to see just how many students there were. This gave me a sense of optimism regarding how things will go this year, and not just for me. In-person learning will provide students with a feeling of community and a greater work ethic. While learning online does have value as a curricular option, many students focus best only in a physical classroom. For me in particular, my house only serves as a distraction, with all the noises and the home-phone constantly ringing. Only in the classroom, can you have direct and open communication with your peers and teachers. Furthermore, being out of the classroom always makes me feel as if I’m not really in class.
In-person learning also opens up more possibilities involving extracurricular activities. Adelphi University has a wide range of clubs, Greek life, community service and other opportunities to participate in. Being able to do so in person is necessary to foster school spirit at Adelphi and help students enjoy their college experience. This is especially true after all of the wonderful renovations that have been made. It would be a shame if students were busy working at home rather than enjoying Adelphi’s splendid college campus. After all, in-person learning is so important for bringing commuter students to the campus and helping them be a part of the community.
However, people may have concerns about continuing coronavirus restrictions and their impact. Looking at the current situation, if people follow mask and vaccine regulations, we can avoid negative situations such as outbreaks. There are those of us who are immunocompromised or have other difficulties. It is because of this that I still recommend that Adelphi maintain the option for students to take online classes if they are uncomfortable because of coronavirus risks.
Another important change is regarding in-person gatherings. It makes sense that in the future, the size of gatherings should be limited due to the risks posed by the virus. Also, we should take care to provide materials for cleaning such as wipes and hand sanitizer at in-person
events. If people are careful, I remain optimistic about the future of in-person events at Adelphi. I also recommend that the school create opportunities for more outdoor and virtual events for students. These events can be larger and can cater to students who have had trouble making friends during the pandemic or have suffered because of loss or other events during the year. After all, the coronavirus was tough for all of us. We should work to bring more students into the community of Adelphi while keeping everyone safe from harm. It would be wonderful for students to remember Adelphi University as the place where they made best friends and were healed.