PHILADELPHIA — With recent news that Temple University to mostly resume in-person classes this fall, Amelia D’Andrea finds herself with mixed emotions.
“I think returning in person will be safe considering everyone by then should have been given the option and opportunity to be vaccinated,” D’Andrea, Temple junior studying dance and recreational therapy, told the Capital-Star recently. “However, I believe that students have gotten used to the online setting and having to go back in person may take a toll on student’s mental health.”
University President Richard Englert announced the fall return in a campus-wide email on March 1, predicting a return to “a vibrant campus experience, with our residence halls, dining halls, student center and academic buildings, as well as our athletic and recreational facilities, open this fall.”
During the fall 2020 semester, Temple held all of its classes online. While the majority of spring the semester classes remain online, the university has expanded the number of courses with an in-person component.
In order to ensure the safety of the community, every student living in a residence hall, enrolled in an in-person course, or assigned to clinical rotations are tested twice a week for the entire semester. Students falling under those categories must follow the university testing protocol.
D’Andrea said she welcomed the testing policy.
“I like the testing sites that Temple has provided us because I can get tested almost any time and any day for free,” she said. “It is extremely accessible for all students who are living on or off campus. The test is self-administered, but I believe it works well due to the detailed directions at each testing station and someone always there to help.”
D’Andrea believes that the vaccination should be required for the fall semester. She received both doses of the Moderna vaccine for her return to campus this spring semester due to being in a public health fieldwork internship class for recreational therapy.
Emma Nesbitt, a Temple University Sophomore Communication Social Influence and Public Relations major, mentioned how returning to in person classes in the fall is a good idea as long as everyone is getting tested often and that classes continue to be smaller and socially distant.
Nesbitt also emphasized the importance of students getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I do think that vaccinations should be mandatory because they have been scientifically proven to work,” said Nesbitt. “I would not be comfortable in a class with non-vaccinated people. I fully trust the vaccine. I am a full supporter of science and people who devoted their year to making the vaccine.”
Despite Englert’s optimism towards the return to in-person learning, he noted in his email that he expects some classes to remain virtual next fall. He also emphasized that the school will continue to follow city, state, and federal guidelines if they become stricter.