Students react to University resuming in-person learning for fall 2021 semester

Mandi Karpo, News Editor

On April 1, the University announced that the fall 2021 semester will return to fully in-person classes, activities and events on all three of its campuses: Lower Manhattan, Pleasantville and White Plains.

Options for online and hybrid courses will be available while many safety precautions will remain in place for students and staff attending in-person classes on campus.

According to a statement released by News12, University President Marvin Krislov said that in order to re-open campuses, the University will be following guidelines set by federal, state and local public health agencies.

“I’ve been impressed at how well the students, faculty, and staff have adapted and succeeded through the last year of the pandemic, but I’ll be even more pleased to see us all back to something close to normal Pace University life,” said Krislov.

The press release comes at a time when New York State has announced vaccine eligibility for University students, including individuals 16 years of age and older, starting April 6.

The Pace Press spoke to students attending the NYC campus about what they are most looking forward to, as well as some of the pitfalls that will come from transitioning to in-person education following a year of “Zoom University.”

University junior Emma Beach plans on attending in-person classes, commuting from her New York City apartment.

“I am excited about having that community that we lost while being online. I love the environment in most of my class, and there is a relationship you can only build in person,” said Beach.

“I am least excited about the overall transition. As we have seen throughout this pandemic, transitioning from different learning formats has not been easy. I hope that the University will consider students’ mental health more once we are in person,” continued Beach.

University sophomore Preston Chung is going to attend in-person classes in the fall and will be commuting from his apartment in the Financial District.

“Online classes were a great proxy to get through COVID these past two semesters, but I am just a better student with a more personal way of learning,” said Chung.

University sophomore Emma Brown also plans to commute this upcoming semester and plans on being in person.

“Being able to finally be in labs and take advantage of the opportunities the University has to offer is going to be amazing,” said Brown.

“I’m going to miss recorded lectures, open-book exams and the ability to be in my pajamas during class. The ability for me to re-watch lectures really solidified a lot of information that is much needed in order for me to succeed,” continued Brown.

University sophomore Jeremiah Williams will also choose to be in-person while living in an on-campus dorm as a Residence Assistant.

“I am excited to just see people again. Walking around the halls, moving through the courtyard, waiting for the elevator to head to class. It is those moments I would say that I have missed the most since the transition to remote instruction,” said Williams.

“Interacting with people casually as life shifts back to a new normal will be a surreal feeling. From my perspective, the positives we told ourselves we found in online learning were just a result of us coping with the extraordinary circumstances that forced us to be there,” he continued.

While the University is highly encouraging students to be vaccinated before returning to in-person instruction in the fall, the University is not requiring mandatory vaccination for students.

Students are eager to discover what protocols will be in place and have expressed expectations for the University to uphold once back on campus, given that the pandemic is still underway.

“I’m expecting that capacity is still not going to be at 100 percent, most likely 80 percent at the most. I also think that face coverings are still going to be mandatory. In addition, I’m convinced that vaccinations are going to be mandatory for people who plan on returning or living on campus,” said Brown.

“I believe the school will still have us wear masks and social distance. I also think we will not see large classes in a long time,” said Beach.

“The University and some professors have failed to accommodate for the stress and anxiety this time has caused. Hopefully, with the transition back, they will be more empathetic to students,” added Beach.

“Nothing is perfect and in these trying times, it’s hard to decipher what is the best course of action. However, I hope the University takes into account the student bodies’ mental health, physical health and safety in terms of future endeavors,” said Chung.

The fall semester is set to begin on Wednesday, Sept. 8, according to the University’s academic calendar for 2021-2022.