Opposites attract series: Pros of resuming in-person classes in fall 2020

The university recently announced its intent to have students return to campus this fall. Obviously, everyone has an opinion. 


Opening is only a smart option if it’s done with the advice of professionals, which is exactly what they’re doing. 


From the public information we have about how VU plans to approach reopening, I’m eager to return to campus and have put my trust in the administration to keep me safe. 


President Heckler communicated earlier last week that multiple task forces have been regularly meeting to discuss a safe return to campus. There’s an Academic Affairs task force, a Scenario Planning Group, an Incident Command Team and an entire administration communicating with healthcare professionals and government officials to ensure a reopening that will continue flattening the curve while maintaining Valpo’s community. 


They’ve already mapped out an adjusted schedule to prevent unnecessary travel and to avoid flu season. Other universities have been reporting increased safety measures such as limiting class sizes and changing the model of the dining hall experience. Valpo’s administration followed other universities’ leads when the pandemic started, and I have no doubt they’ll do the same when coming out on the other end. 


I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed a deterioration of students’ mental health since the beginning of quarantine, including my own. Losing access to the counseling center because of the end of an academic term, Chapel pastoral staff furlough, job and internship loss and social isolation have put our mental health at risk. 


It will only continue to worsen over the summer. Returning to campus will be the only way many students will have access to therapy because of licensing over state lines. It will be the only way to escape a toxic environment at home. It will be a return to independence and autonomy. 


Valpo’s administration knows what it’s doing. They know we only overcome adversity if it’s through the community we’ve created. If we’re going to get through this on the other side, it needs to be together. Many incoming sophomores never got the chance to take root in our community. They need to be cared for and given that opportunity to find their spot in our bubble and become established enough that they find the confidence to make a difference. 


Students make Valpo what it is. Without us, it’s pointless. The administration will do everything they can to keep us safe, healthy and comfortable because that’s their mission in the first place. 


The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily of The Torch.


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