As the spring semester is coming to an end and more students are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, students are excited and hopeful for a normal fall semester at Meredith College. On March 26, 2021, Meredith sent out an email announcing plans to return to more normal academic operations next semester along with expectations the college has for campus life.
However, some students are worried about Meredith’s plans for Fall 2021. The Herald spoke to several students about their thoughts and concerns regarding the current decisions Meredith has made about academic offerings, housing, guest policies, community standards and vaccines.
Ashlee Hamrick, ‘21, who relocated to her parents’ house at the start of the pandemic, has been living in Vann Residence Hall this semester. Hamrick said her biggest concern about the fall semester is “the school fee increasing, specifically the price of paying for an individual room in the dorms.” Hamrick explained, “Students who are COVID-19-conscious and want to have a private room shouldn’t be penalized by having to pay more money, especially because of the economy we are living in right now. A lot of students’ parents lost their jobs. A lot of students lost their jobs.” She does hope that students who can’t and don’t want to attend in-person classes “will have the option [of using Zoom] and will not be punished for it.” Hamrick also commented on the impractical use of the CampusClear app that students, faculty and staff use prior to entering campus. She said, “People are not using the CampusClear app the way it's supposed to be used...The people who are checking it [at the gate], they don’t care. They [sometimes] don’t even check the person who is in the car with you.” Hamrick stated, “All that the app is doing is checking off symptoms. Most people aren’t going to check off waking up with allergies, and they’re not going to get tested every single day.”
Sofia Gomez, ‘22, also has concerns about the school fees. Gomez expressed being uncomfortable knowing that the school fees will return to normal next year “even though we just passed the harshest economic year since 2008.” Gomez said they are confused about this decision considering everything that has happened during the pandemic. Gomez explained that they are excited about Fall 2021, but “the biggest concern is the fact that students will try to have a social life without regarding those who are high risk and are immunocompromised.”
While Hamrick and Gomez hope students will be able to successfully continue another semester at Meredith financially, Megan Burkoski, ‘23, is joyful yet hesitant about the shift from being virtual for almost a year and a half to going back to in-person classes. According to the March 26 email, students can expect going back to the normal routine of face-to-face classes for the majority of courses being offered in Fall 2021. Burkoski said, “I learn better in in-person classes, and it’s easier for me to ask questions and show my work to my professor.” However, Burkoski did share her fear of leaving her comfort zone, as she likes the idea of working at home so she doesn’t “have to be social in person.”
Although students have concerns for Meredith’s plans for the fall semester, Hamrick says she is still “grateful for the opportunity to return to traditional student life at Meredith.”
By Hannah Taib, Staff Writer