Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the only constant was change.
For students, this meant complying with the many changes in educational operations and figuring out how to collaborate online, all from a distance. Classes have resumed this fall and students are physically back on campus. Returning to traditional college life during a still-active pandemic, however, requires mandatory indoor masking and other accommodations.
According to French-language professor, Lise Hoy, “the pandemic has interconnected people of vastly different backgrounds.”
“Their experience has been anything but easy,” Hoy said. “Language is about human interaction and facial expressions.”
While Hoy said human connection is important in learning a language, face-to-face communication is of equal importance.
Hoy said, “Face-to-face communication leads to academic improvement,”
Masks help prevent the spread of this virus, but it also covers mouths and impedes audibility, Hoy said.
Through trial and error, she found the virtual communication program, Zoom, was an efficient way to combat the mask issue. This program provides a way to stay connected no matter where you are, for free.
Hoy said she “uses it to see all her student’s faces and to connect, even in a different environment.”
Hoy is not only a teacher but a mother of kids returning to classes this fall. Parenting on its own is difficult, but parenting during a pandemic has its own set of obstacles.
“Not having normality from day to day has affected our lives profoundly,” Hoy said.
Hoy advises that we continue to wear a mask and follow protocol to ensure a safe and productive school year for everyone. Enforcing this will limit the number of cases on campus, therefore limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Lydia Bernard, a third year student, said she is excited to be back at school.
“Seeing everyone back on campus and learning in person makes me feel like we are getting back to normal,” Bernard said.
Being an upperclassman comes with more responsibility and difficult classes, however, could being back on campus help or hurt students?
“So far school has been significantly better in comparison to this time last year,” Bernard said. “Being in person allows me to meet new people and exchange ideas,” Bernard said.
For Bernard, this year is off to a great start, but this does not mean it is for the entire student body.
“I got burnt out from being online while also having to worry about a global pandemic,” third-year student Cedric Warner said. “I am taking a semester off to focus on myself for a bit.”
Everyone is dealing with the pandemic in different ways and it has reshaped our definitions of importance.
Maxwell can be reached at [email protected]