Fall Return to Campus: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

It has been nearly a whole year since we were forced to stay home because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In late January, it was said by WBZ News Radio that we would be going back to in-person classes for the fall semester. Though Bridgewater State University has not confirmed this report, it would be unwise to make any sort of official announcement at this point in time. Here is why I think we will NOT be back on campus this coming fall.

1. We don’t know what COVID-19 will look like.
While we have had moments of deescalation during the pandemic, we also have had moments many of escalation. This past fall, we went from about 100-200 cases a day to about 4,000-6,000 cases a day, and this includes the newer strains of COVID-19, which are far more infectious than the original strain from China. With COVID still evolving and not knowing what could happen in the coming months, it is unwise to go back to in-person classes in the fall. If we did go back for the fall semester, with COVID-19 possibly being more infectious than it is now, students that are immunocompromised or have family members that are are faced with an unfair and problematic dilemma. If they were to go into a classroom with someone who has COVID-19 but is 100% asymptomatic, they can still catch the virus and possibly face morbid consequences/pass it to somebody else. So, what will COVID-19 look like when the summertime sun shines down on us? No one knows, so that is one major reason as to why I think that we will not be back on campus this fall.

2. COVID can still mutate.
Over the past few months, new variants of the virus have been discovered in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. These new strains have been found to be even more contagious and infectious than the other variant. Due to this, there is a good chance that a new COVID-19 strain could come to light and be more severe and deadly, as well as becoming a much larger threat than the original strain. This is another good reason why we will not be on campus in the fall, because of how deadly the potential new strain(s) could become and the significance it can have on not only the students, but also the professors and other staff members within the BSU community.

3. The vaccines may not help.
With the release of new vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and most recently, Johnson & Johnson, many believe that this will make people more impenetrable against COVID-19. While for some it may do that, for others it may do the complete opposite. Though these companies have claimed these vaccines to be effective, it it still early to make accusations as large as welcoming thousands of students back to campus. I believe if the vaccine doesn’t do its job, then a new outbreak may wreak havoc within the community.

So, after exploring the three main reasons as to why I believe we will not be on campus for the fall semester, the question is: when should the decision to go back have been made? In my opinion, it should be made around mid-late June, as that will give us a better idea as to what COVID-19 will look like by that time and allows us to prepare better. There is still hope that we may be on-campus this fall semester, but as of right now only time will tell.

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