Outlook for Spring Semester With Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

4 min read Living through crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and a tumultuous election as a student has proven difficult.

Person in gas mask with toilet paper

Photo Credit: (Erik Mclean) The university has taken extensive measures to ensure student safety.

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By Kylee Walling & Michael Aaron Coopersmith | kewalling@radford.edu & mcoopersmith@radford.edu 

At the beginning of the semester, I was concerned about students being on campus.

Kylee’s Side:

With Radford’s party reputation and my general opinion about reckless college students, I had some concerns about everyone living in dorms together, eating in shared places, and attending classes in person. I know what college looked like pre-COVID-19, and it certainly didn’t make me feel better about those things.

I will say, however, that surprisingly the semester wasn’t a disaster. Obviously, some violations occurred on and off-campus, but nothing so crazy it deemed us all being sent home. I was expecting worse.

With Radford’s party reputation and my general opinion about reckless college students, I had some concerns about everyone living in dorms together, eating in shared places, and attending classes in person.

I think the university has taken extensive measures to ensure student safety. With the surveillance testing, reduced in-class attendance, the introduction of hybrid classes to the curriculum of many courses, and many other measures taken this semester, I think things went fairly smoothly.

I had a different approach going in than most kids, though. I worked all last summer as an “essential worker,” so I was prepared for the onslaught of cleaning products everywhere, sanitizing bottles in every class, and the constant wiping of surfaces with cleaning rags.

I was also prepared for anti-maskers.

I don’t think I was exposed to very much resistance on campus, though, thankfully.

I don’t speak for everyone when I say this, I’m sure. Still, with the continuation of social distancing on campus, safety measures from the university, and similar attitudes from the students, that next semester will prove safe enough for students to remain on campus.

I also thankfully haven’t seen a lot of violations with mask-wearing and social distancing around campus. It seems that students generally want to be back for the semester, and I can agree with students who share that mentality.

I also thankfully haven’t seen a lot of violations with mask-wearing and social distancing around campus.

Personally, being in contact with many students who left early in the semester, even those students are excited to come back.

I think it will be easier to adjust next semester now that kids are used to the new restrictions.

There seems to have been extensive planning on the administration’s part to safely keep students on campus, where many seem to want to stay with the reopening plan.

Health and safety come first. The details in that plan and student, faculty, and staffs’ participation in following safety guidelines will help create a safe environment for students to live for the semester.

I don’t remember what life was like before wearing a mask everywhere, but I know myself. I think humility and respect are motivations for me to remain healthy and to keep others the same.

I want to come back in-person next semester, keep seeing declines in positive COVID-19 tests, and hope for a little normalcy, finally, at the beginning of my sophomore year in the Fall of 2021, if not sooner.

Two people wearing masks
Photo Credit: (Macau Photo Agency) Macau students return to School.

Aaron’s Side:

Many of us have done our best to complete our education during this crisis. It almost feels as if we’ve had some triumph as the semester comes to an end.

Yet, we have only completed the first half of this academic year, leaving me contemplating what may come for our next semester. And, with much thought, I have a feeling that things will be more of the same.

Many of us have done our best to complete our education during this crisis.

We’ve recently had dramatic developments, from the election of a new president to a claim that a COVID-19 vaccine is 90% efficient. These developments might spark a sense of hope for change or lead people to believe that our time of crisis has come to an end. 

In the back of my head, though, I have creeping doubt that this coming semester will be more of the same.

Cases in the United States are increasing once again. This increase could stem from people being unable to follow social distancing rules, the cold weather insisting more sickness, or other factors. 

However, I believe that we will have to continue to proceed with the mask and social distancing policies.

I especially think classes will operate in the same way as following the mixture of online and in-person platforms. 

I believe that next semester will have the same practices that we currently have in effect and the same problems that come with it.

Gathering limits will probably still be enforced, as well, which will undoubtedly restrict clubs and other organizations on campus to online meeting platforms.

When we return to Radford to complete this academic year, I wouldn’t be surprised if Radford continues with surveillance testing, which has proven to be a way for Radford University to monitor cases and control them. It’s an efficient and responsible procedure for the school to take, so I believe it will not go away this coming semester.

In general, I believe that next semester will have the same practices that we currently have in effect and the same problems that come with it.

Kylee Walling