Community COVID-19 Features

Returning to Normal in Fall 2021: Pros and Cons

Students on Caf Lane. Photo by Lauren O'Brien.

A recent coronavirus update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 13 said those who are vaccinated don’t need to wear a mask outdoors or indoors (with a few exceptions), which sparked conversations among students about what the fall 2021 semester will look like at Point Loma Nazarene University. 

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced the news that the state will implement these new mask guidelines starting June 15. The Wellness Center at PLNU announced via email on May 14 that PLNU’s current mask policy will remain in place until June 15 when new changes will be in effect, in accordance with state of CA blueprint guidelines.

Several PLNU students were asked via email: “What are the pros and cons for returning this fall — fully in-person, no Zoom classes, no masks?”

Randy Hamilton, junior cross-disciplinary studies: teacher education major

Photo courtesy of Randy Hamilton.

Pros: It’s easier to pay attention, there are fewer distractions from cell phones or other devices at home, reading body language is effortless. It builds better connections between teacher and students with less technological difficulties, and teachers can assess and assist students that are having difficulty.

Cons: Greater risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus, more time/money spent on gas for commuters, a greater chance of missing or being late to class, more noise distractions from other students. It’s sometimes harder to hear the teacher, students will have to find a babysitter, pets will be left home alone without potty breaks and students will be unable to choose the environment.

Isabella Ruiz, junior managerial and organizational communications major

Photo courtesy of Isabella Ruiz.

The pros of going back to school this fall are I get to see the beautiful ocean everyday while I walk around campus. I also would have a greater sense of normality seeing other students in person. I would love to have everything in-person next year since it would be my last year at Loma. However, I’m a commuter student so it’s nice not having to commute every morning. I enjoy being able to go from class to class without having to leave my house.

Malia Macabitas, junior social work and pre-therapeutic major, psychology minor

Photo courtesy of Malia Macabitas.

Last semester I started at PLNU as a transfer student with all my classes only over Zoom. It definitely wasn’t how I pictured my first semester to go, so I was really nervous to be starting in person on campus in the fall. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the transition was. The pros during my return to in-person were my professors. They were very accommodating and really eased my nerves about starting class in person. In one of my classes, my professor took a poll and asked us how we felt about coming back and if we wanted to meet in person. 

I think the only con about returning to class is how used to Zoom I’ve become. I had the convenience of showing up to class in my pajamas, using the mute button and responding in chat.

Zach Lyons, sophomore psychology major 

Photo courtesy of Zach Lyons.

I feel that the return to fall semester in-person has many pros. I think it’s very instrumental to many people’s learning to be able to meet face to face. There are many great things we can do online, but it’s also a bit of a struggle to have motivation to learn. However, I think it’s important to remember that many people could have a difficult time transitioning back to normal because they are at a higher risk level. I hope that PLNU provides options for all students to receive the best form of education based on their particular situation. 

Natalie Fredricks, sophomore psychology major

The pros would be that it would feel like a regular college experience and I think it would be really nice to be able to get to know my classmates without masks. 

For cons, I would say there’s definitely a risk involved. Not everyone is vaccinated, and people have been careful to different degrees.

By: Ashlee Owings