Courtesy of Jeffrey Prince
As various college spring breaks come to a close, many students will not be returning to their on-campus classes. With Coronavirus spreading through the US, numerous colleges and universities have opted to conduct online classes in hopes of keeping their students healthy. Remote learning, otherwise known as online learning, will benefit some students, but it raises some concerns for others.
Dale Lippincott, a WHS graduate who is currently a freshman at Connecticut College, left for spring break not thinking much of the spread of Coronavirus.
“None of us really expected this to happen before we left [for spring break],” Lippincott said. “Two weeks ago no one was really aware of it like we are now.”
Over the past week, concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic have escalated rapidly, especially after the president’s Oval Office address on Wednesday, March 11. Daniella Timperio, a WHS graduate who is a freshman at Quinnipiac University, will also be adjusting to online learning.
“On Sunday [March 15], the president [of my university] Judy Olian sent out an email saying that they had to come to the decision that students would not be allowed to return to campus, and the rest of the school year would be strictly online learning,” Timperio said.
Colleges and Universities all across the country have decided to completely shut down campus for the second semester and switch to online remote learning. Many schools are using the application Zoom to communicate and teach students online. Sophomore at Harvard University and WHS graduate Jeffrey Prince is currently using Zoom for his online learning.
“We’re doing something called Zoom, which is basically an online meeting platform,” Prince said. “We are very much doing full online school, but how exams are going to happen isn’t totally clear for each class. I think they’re open notes, so overall it’s a disappointment.”
For many students, leaving college was difficult because lots of students had to book flights home and figure out how to take their stuff with them. The whole process has been filled with uncertainty for everyone.
“It is definitely disappointing that half the semester, so 1/16 of the college experience, has been drastically altered to the point where it’s not college anymore, it doesn’t feel like college anymore,” Prince said.
For many college freshmen, the opportunity to engage in a lot of college traditions will be lost. Housing will ultimately be a mystery and chaotic for students in the coming fall.
“For instance, for our housing system, all the freshmen live on Harvard Yard and then they all get sorted into one of 12 upperclassmen houses for your next three years,” Prince said. “That was supposed to happen Thursday of last week, and now the freshmen missed out on that day, and they actually have no idea what their houses are for the upcoming years.”
The solutions of online learning challenge students who major in some arts such as theatre or dance since it is difficult to perform at your house and through a screen.
“As a dance major, this is very challenging because we take so many movement-based classes that I can imagine will be hard to do remotely,” Lippincott said. “Along with that, our shows have been canceled.”
Freshman year is about making connections and forming bonds with new people which is why it could be difficult to leave new friends. However, every grade will be affected in its own way.
“I think this whole situation is super difficult for everyone, for the first years who were finally getting adjusted to school, sophomores declaring their major, juniors dealing with being abroad, and seniors for having their time cut short,” Lippincott said. “Despite this being challenging, the school and community have been very supportive.”