Opinion: Suffolk should reconsider its plans for the spring

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Suffolk University released its upcoming spring semester classes this past week and it received a mixture of reactions. 

With COVID-19 still prominent, Suffolk has not made the right call with its choice to hold a mix of in-person, hybrid and remote classes. The university should have pushed for a fully remote semester.

Many students are upset and believe the university should have pushed for more physical meeting times. However, these students need to understand that there has been a significant uptick in coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, primarily in Boston, according to the New York Times Massachusetts Covid Map and Case Count.  

That begs the question – why is Suffolk even entertaining the idea of in-person classes? 

Colleges like Bunker Hill Community College and UMass Boston have already pulled the plug and decided to remain remote throughout the 2021 spring and summer semesters. 

In a statement sent out to students by UMass Boston, “The public health metrics have not improved-in fact, they are moving in the wrong direction.”   

It is understandable that students who live on campus or sought out off campus housing around Boston prefer to take classes physically held on campus. However, that doesn’t make it an intelligent choice. According to MassLive, over one thousand cases are being reported per day in the state, most of which are younger, college aged students. 

It is not ideal– nothing in this situation is. But parting ways with the traditional college experience could flatten the curve. Why are our students so eager to get up and be in a lecture hall?  

We have the technology to host classes online. This year, it is better to be learning from home and staying healthy.  

The “college experience” is one that is formulated. We may need to reshape what that means in a global pandemic.  

The lasting effects of COVID-19 are widely unknown– teachers, students and staff should not be put at risk at all. One would hope that the staff would be up to the task of teaching solely online. 

Bostonians worried in August what would happen when the “college kids” came back to the city and by all accounts they had every right to be worried. Though there are safety exceptions, reports of house parties and college students misbehaving have not done anything to quell those fears. In fact, it has done nothing to stop the spread of the virus that is so greatly feared, as noted by Governor Baker’s almost daily press conferences.  

Suffolk hosts over 7,000 students and they are responsible for making decisions that keep those students safe. Their staff deserves the same respect. COVID-19 rates have risen within Suffolk as well, according to The Suffolk Journal

As we see the daily rise of something that could spread at a terrifying rate through the university itself, when is it enough?

Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyFairchi14.