By Kalli Colacino
After months of uncertainty, President Foster announced on Friday that the College is tentatively reopening for the fall 2020 semester with a hybrid of in-person and remote instruction. From their homes, students have been eagerly awaiting the announcement since the spring semester moved to remote learning in March.
“This is a decision that the College has gotten right,” said Brittany Kroeckel, a rising senior elementary education and psychology dual major. “I think this is the best route for our campus.”
The College’s plan for fall accommodates students who prefer to limit interactions with remote learning and those who prefer in-person instruction.
“I think this (plan) is an absolute necessity,” said Rajbir Toor, an rising senior psychology major. “There are several things that can impact a student’s decision to return to campus, and they should be able to make the best decision for themselves.”
Although the campus is tentatively reopening, guidelines will be put in place and inevitably change everyday life for many. Students will have to adhere to health and safety protocols, which means maintaining a six-foot distance, exercising caution and wearing masks.
“I would imagine restrictions being enforced heavily, which, quite frankly, I can imagine that’s why students would not want to stay on campus,” said Cristhofer Moreira, an rising junior public health major.
Foster also announced the cancellation of most athletics, extracurricular activities and large-group gatherings for the semester’s entirety.
“I’m upset the TCNJ experience is put on hold,” Moreira said. “This decision feels bittersweet.”
The decision to go back to campus will not be an easy one for most. With the in-person spring semester getting cut short in exchange for Zoom, along with summer classes being held online, many students have gotten acclimated to having online classes.
“I will probably take remote-only courses,” Toor said. “Most of my courses are Liberal Learning courses, and there is not really an added benefit I would get from coming to campus.”
For others, the thought of more online courses is undesirable.
“I’m a student who prefers in-person instruction. I’ve struggled with online courses in the past,” Kroeckel said. “I’m happy to not be completely remote again because I really struggled mentally at the end of last semester.”
Regardless of their decisions, many students are feeling mixed emotions following Foster’s announcement.
“Right now I’m feeling stressed, defeated and excited,” Toor said. “I’m feeling defeated to know that my senior year will not have a homecoming or allow for fun activities with my friends.”
Seniors who are looking to experience their final year at the College are saddened they won’t get the experience they hoped for.
“I’m naturally disappointed because I won’t be able to start my senior year the way I’d like,” Kroeckel said.
But through all the mixed feelings, students are more than eager to get back to some sense of normalcy.
“I am very excited to return to campus and see my friends and classmates again,” Toor said. “Even if it’s from six feet away with a mask on.”