The return to in-person learning during the pandemic has brought on a host of new challenges for students and professors alike. The Editorial Board and members of The Daily Tar Heel's staff discuss what being back has been like for them.
Ben Rappaport, assistant opinion editor
We are being forced to accept this new reality as normal, when it is so far from it. It feels like a repelling magnet. We are trying to make things connect, but it just isn’t quite right. However, multiple things can be true at once — it’s nice to see your friends out on the quad, but also distressing to think about whether my peers currently have COVID-19 or if they’re being honest about their vaccination status. I want to simultaneously drink up every ounce of good that an in-person experience offers, but fear constantly for the safety of myself, the student body and the Chapel Hill community. It’s hard for both those feelings to coexist in the current atmosphere.
Raymond Pang, Editorial Board member
Going back in person has been a mixed bag, especially after a year of Zoom University. I have really enjoyed the social aspect of classes again, such as the small talk that often occurs right before and after a class with your peers and friends. Furthermore, I feel like professors are more accessible and easier to listen to in a lecture hall rather than on Zoom. At the same time, it’s impossible to talk about in-person classes without acknowledging that there’s potential for COVID-19 issues to arise again, something which has already happened at Duke University. Whether we eventually go back to online classes or persevere through the semester, I personally think that going back in person has been a good thing. Students and faculty should still remember that things aren’t completely normal, so the necessary precautions need to still be taken.
Helen McGinnis, photo editor
If classes move online next week, I am going to throw hands. It is ridiculous that the fate of my senior year is going to be decided by the "anti-vaxxers." All of my professors have been more than willing to work with us for any absence — there is no penalty to miss class, and most of my classes are offered virtually as well as in person. I'll admit that throwing everyone back into the classroom was bold. However, if everyone does their part by wearing masks, getting tested and staying home when they are feeling sick, this semester should be fine. Whether or not people are telling the truth about being vaccinated is another story. It is up to the University to develop a better system of checking vaccinations in order to keep everyone safe.
Ira Wilder, assistant photo editor
Before FDOC, the last time I sat in a classroom was a high school journalism class. On March 13, 2020, I frantically uploaded my entire journalism server online so that we could work on my senior yearbook remotely for two weeks.
Flash forward, two years later: I’m still in journalism classes, but so much has happened internally. The student I left in the high school classroom has endured almost two years of virtual learning, and I am ecstatic that it is over — temporarily. Sitting in my bedroom listening to professors drawl on through the speakers of my computer was hell. If we return to remote instruction, I know that my mental health will take a dive that I may honestly not recover from.
Please get vaccinated so that I don’t cry looking at my laptop everyday.
Clay Morris, DEI Officer
This whole experience is giving ... unsafe.
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