Return To Campus Full Of Ups and Downs

BC students see the pros and cons of returning to campus this spring./Kaylin Guzman

By Serin Sarsour

   After nearly two years of online learning, many Brooklyn College students have returned to campus this spring semester as COVID-19 cases become more steady and vaccine mandates remain. For many students, the comeback of in-person learning has its advantages and downfalls. 

   “I prefer online classes because if school is in-person, it’s harder to come and go from home,” said Tasin Habib, a BC junior who has returned to campus for the first time since March 2020. “I have to wait here for hours at a time in between classes, and it’s not like I can just go home because I live far away.”

   On the other hand, other students found that online classes lack interaction between students and professors, and leave little room for participation. “I’ve only had like five classes since I’ve been back in person, and I’ve learned more in like two weeks than I have in the entire two years that we were online,” said BC senior Sophiya Binkin.

   Although Binkin appreciates the benefits of going to school in person, she thinks the school can enhance the student experience and restore campus in terms of more events and better scenery. “I went to Stonybrook before this, and it was more lively,” she said.

     Before on-campus spring classes returned, cases worldwide skyrocketed from Omicron, the latest variant of COVID-19. CUNY expanded its protocols and vaccine mandate to include boosters for those eligible before the semester began, as New York’s COVID contractions rose with a record-breaking 90,132 positive cases on Jan. 8. Today, the count has since gone down, and New York now has about 3,500 recorded cases. Though Habib agrees with all of the safety precautions BC has taken thus far, she believes there is still room to improve.

   “If the COVID cases are increasing a lot like they were in early January, I think classes should be moved online until the cases go down like they are now,” she said.

     For some others, CUNY’s requirement for all non-exempted students stepping foot on campus to be fully vaccinated is an issue.

     “I think the masks are a good idea because we’re all in very close proximity to each other, but I disagree with the vaccine mandate because it should be the person’s choice what they want to do with their body. They shouldn’t have to be forced to take it in order to get an education,” said BC junior Fariza Akramova. “If you’re not vaccinated, there should be an online course option for you to take.”

     BC sophomore Kavi Ahmed, however, believes the school’s protocols, including the vaccine mandate, are imperative to keeping the entire in-person population safe and protected against COVID-19. “We are still in a pandemic as much as we don’t want to be,” said Ahmed.

   The pandemic has undoubtedly altered the lives of all students across the globe, but Ahmed looks on the bright side in which he can finally pursue an education that isn’t through a screen. “I’m enjoying being in-person a lot,” Ahmed said. “Even if online was more comfortable, there is something to be said for physically going to your classes and being active. It’s nice to feel like I’m going somewhere and seeing a bunch of other people going somewhere, too.”

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