On Wednesday, Oct. 7, it was announced by WCU President Chris Fiorentino that the university will remain socially distant during the Spring 2021 semester. At 10:30 a.m., a mass email sent to students linked Fiorentino’s video monologue, which was transcripted in an additional mass email sent 30 minutes later. Faculty and students were quick to note that not much is to change from the Fall to Spring semesters, which has been criticized for once again lacking significant tuition cuts and diverse instructional modes. Though some were surprised, many have been expecting the announcement.
As seniors mourn the premature death of their final semester and freshmen continue to await the day they set foot on campus, they are forced to make decisions about their future. For some, the cost of another virtual semester is too high or the prospect of more virtual classes too heavy. For others, a socially distant university is the only way to engage in education without putting their health at risk.
Either way, students have been quick to take to social media. Modern warfare has donned the form of Instagram comments, the recent Instagram post by @wcuofpa a hotbed for flash judgement. One comment by a WCU student predicts that “There will be no class of 2024 if we aren’t allowed to on campus most will transfer to a school where they will be able to make friends and live on campus.” Its neighbor is an unexpected peacemaker that counters, “thank you for choosing to keep our community safe. everyone who is upset about it is valid, but we have to understand that this is not an easy decision. if you’re mad, be mad. but don’t be hateful.”
In the words of Fiorentino, “Continuing remote instruction through Spring 2021 will ensure that WCU students will be able to earn credits for academic degrees in an uninterrupted manner.”
A revised spring schedule is set to be released on Monday, Oct. 19. Between then and Thanksgiving break, students are encouraged to plan and schedule for their next semester accordingly. WCU students have been quick to share opinions and ideas about the announcement and what is to come. Writers from The Quad weigh in on what this developing story means to them and how it will affect them as students:
I’m honestly not surprised by WCU’s decision to stay remote for the spring. I can’t say I’m not disappointed though, because I miss the experiences that I connect with going to college. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have professors willing to adapt to video calls and discussion boards and liven up the class as best they can, but I know many of my peers have not been as lucky with their professors. That upsets me more than not being physically on campus by far.
– Rebecca Kelley, third-year English Literature major
I really did not expect much more from West Chester than this. I agree with Fiorentino’s decision in the same way that I agree with the Eagles punting on fourth and 21. I’m not angry about the punt; I’m angry about every decision that forced you to punt. Of course you’re not going to have students back when you allow them in town to flood their houses with people every weekend. If you’re going to trust those students without supervision, why don’t you trust the students who want and need to come back to be safe? I appreciate you managing the situation, but the time for management is done, now take some action.
– Matthew Shimkonis, second-year History major with a Journalism minor
To be completely honest, like my peers have said — I’m not surprised at all. I’m upset at the fact that I won’t have undergraduate in-person classes ever again, and I’m missing all of the little things I used to look forward to (aka getting Saxby’s every morning before class, meeting up with friends in the library and being in The Quad office!). It’s weird, and it sucks, and it’s hard to stay awake in front of a computer screen 12 hours a day without falling asleep or getting distracted. As a result, I’m only hoping that professors take that into consideration even more so for the Spring semester.
– Madison Starinieri, fourth-year English BSEd Writings and Special Education major
There once was a place called WCU
I thought it looked cool for me and you
While that was the case for quite some time
COVID-19 made it far less sublime
There were cringy lines with a lack of taste
With fines for school campus going to waste
for the five or so kids who use the food court
how does it feel to pay hundreds for that sort
it’s even worse for the people off campus
hearing that we’re paying again angered us
while I get going back is a bad idea
make it cheaper so I can eat food like pizza
– Edward Park, third-year English BSEd Writings major
Caroline Helms is a second-year English major with minors in Political Science and Journalism. CH923631@wcupa.edu