WC’s decision for spring semester 2021 is unfair to students

By Lexi Meola

Elm Staff Writer

On Oct. 5, Washington College announced its plan to return to campus for the 2021 spring semester, and many students are not happy. 

WC’s plan to send students home for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester came as a disappointment to many students, which was compounded by their decision not to have students return for the fall 2020 semester. The proposed plan for spring 2021 is, in some ways, no different.

In the official announcement, WC’s  Response Team said, “We will be welcoming about 450 students back to campus. All first-year students will first be invited to return, as well as some upperclassmen who support first-year students’ social and academic transition.”

This decision leaves sophomores, juniors, and seniors wondering if they will ever get back to campus.

The College intends to conduct online class while first-year students live in dorms on campus. This begs the question — is it worth it? The full college experience includes in-person classes and relies on having all four graduating classes on campus. 

Junior Kennett Vail-Rojas feels like returning to campus for virtual learning might not be the best situation for students. 

“With their idea of having mostly freshman on campus and having all the [classes] online, I don’t see that as logical,” Vail-Rojas said.

WC seniors stand to lose the most out of this decision. Many of them do not have access to campus resources needed for their Senior Capstone Experiences.

Senior Will Reid is a theatre major whose SCE will be completed virtually this semester. He said that it has been difficult and wishes he could have done a full production. 

“I am very disappointed, this is my last semester, and it most likely won’t be spent on campus,” Reid said.

Let’s not forget about the other classes as well. Sophomores did not get to finish the last half of their freshman year. Juniors did not get to finish their sophomore year. Every class lost something due to COVID-19. 

Students and parents are frustrated, especially considering that other Maryland institutions — like Mount St. Mary’s University and Salisbury University — that are the same size as or bigger than WC, have returned to campus.

“The College should at least look at other schools that have opened and learn from them what works and what doesn’t,” sophomore Lorna Cummings said. 

WC has had since August to prepare and get the necessary funds for testing and contact tracing, as well as come up with an effective plan for enforcing social distancing on campus. 

Students feel disappointed by the plan, which did not go into full detail as to how campus life during the spring semester will be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Many students are wondering if returning to campus will even be worth it.

While the students understand that this decision was certainly not an easy one, many feel discouraged and concerned about future semesters.

Featured Photo caption: The WC COVID-19 Response Team recently announced that only 450 students would be permitted to return to campus in the spring, sparking complaints from much of the student body. Photo by Izze Rios.

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