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Last updateWed, 28 Oct 2020 1pm

Editorial

The Outlook Editors on Re-opening

default article imageSince Monmouth University re-opened with a mix of in-person and online classes this semester, students have rapidly adjusted to the “new normal” on campus. Regulations such as social distancing, mask wearing, and hand-washing are enforced, while the new meal-ordering app was introduced to minimize the number of students in the student center and dining hall.

The Outlook editors shared their opinion on Monmouth’s approach to re-opening campus this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with some agreeing with the decision to reopen campus.

“I think that Monmouth made the right choice with appropriate safety measures in place, and it is up to students to do their part and act responsibly now,” an editor said.

One editor thought re-opening was the right move to justify the tuition increase and to ensure students get a well-rounded education with in-person classes.

However, some editors believe that Monmouth has not made the right choice reopening this semester, citing safety and health concerns.

“I think a better approach would’ve been to have the semester online,” one editor said. “The entire world shut down but universities were quick to jump back in, but nothing has changed.”

“Safety-wise, the better choice would have been keeping the students home but then the students would miss out on social interactions and the experience of being on or near campus which is so essential to the college experience,” an editor commented.

Another editor pointed out, “Students are going to have more access outside of school with other students, which will allow more physical contact, which will make it so much easier for this virus to spread quicker. I am afraid the longer I stay on campus, the higher of the risk I have to contracting the virus.”

Some editors also commented on the possibility of Monmouth reverting to an all-remote semester if cases continue to climb.

“I think the choice Monmouth made was well thought-out and I understand that it is a tough situation no matter how you slice it,” said an editor. “I am just unsure of if this will last and I think the school knows that as well.”

Many are fearing the possibility of students disobeying campus safety measures by not wearing masks, not social distancing, and gathering in large groups.

“I am worried…that students will find ways to undermine these safety measures and an outbreak will occur on campus that way,” said an editor, who also mentioned Monmouth’s COVID-19 Campus Dashboard that was launched last week on their website. The dashboard lists the number of students who have been on campus and tested positive for the virus.

The editor said, “I also think that Monmouth’s symptom tracker lacks efficacy, as it does not account for contact with asymptomatic people or those who have not explicitly tested positive.”

As of Tuesday, Sept. 22, the dashboard shows 15 total confirmed positive cases including four residential students, eight non-residential students, and three employees. The dashboard indicates that it does not include test results taken prior to the return of campus this fall semester, nor students and employees who test positive but are 100 percent remote.

Many editors point out the struggle of commuting to and/or living on campus with the mix of in-person and online instruction.

“Personally, I would have preferred all online classes because a mix of classes makes it difficult to take classes from home and return to campus for in-person classes an hour or two later,” one editor said, who commutes approximately one hour to campus.

“I kind of wish my classes would have been all online so I would not have had to come all the way back to campus,” agreed another editor, “but I think having some normalcy by coming back and going to campus for at least one of my classes will lead to a more successful semester for me.”

Many editors are content with the University’s enforcement of safety protocols such as hand washing stations, outdoor classes and dining, and placing desks six feet apart.

However, one editor pointed out a flaw with outdoor dining. They said, “A student can wear a mask consistently during class, but you have to laugh at the ‘safe’ outdoor dining of dozens of students sitting shoulder to shoulder with no masks on.”

Many editors are wary about students’ compliance with the University and state regulations, fearing that cases won’t decrease unless students begin socially distancing off campus, staying away from parties, and as one editor points out, “…actually take this virus seriously.”

 

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University

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Monmouth University
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