Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: Suffolk has wrongfully reintroduced virtual learning

Nick Milano

Suffolk University announced Wednesday that all classes will be virtual for the first two weeks of the spring semester.

This announcement is an extremely difficult pill to swallow for many Suffolk students. There is certainly much to unpack in light of this decision from the university.

For starters, it feels as though there are some discrepancies in Suffolk’s logic to make classes virtual. This mainly is due to the fact that all buildings on campus including residence and dining halls will remain open during this time.

Suffolk noted in their email that one of the driving factors in their decision to make classes virtual is the recent increase of COVID-19 cases, specifically the Omicron variant. 

It is certainly true that this variant is highly transmissible, as recent case surges have shown. However it also appears that the symptoms of this variant are far less severe than previous strands. So much so that the CDC actually lowered the recommended quarantine and isolation period for COVID-19 cases from 10 days to five.

It was also noted in the email that more than 97% of our staff and student body are fully vaccinated, many of which have received or are preparing to receive the booster shot as well. So why should a predominantly vaccinated university filled with almost all young people need to be considered at risk?

We have established that the reason for online learning, from Suffolk’s perspective, is to prevent the spread of a highly transmissible virus to a largely vaccinated body of people, all while the virus itself is scientifically considered to be significantly less dangerous than previous strands. 

Is it crazy to feel as though much of this makes very little sense? That is something the reader will need to decide for themselves.

Don’t forget that all residence and dining halls will remain fully operational during the two week period of virtual learning. As are offices and Suffolk’s libraries. Although this is great news, it directly contradicts Suffolk’s intentions during this period of virtual learning.

Residence and dining halls are among the only places on campus where students are allowed to have their faces be seen without a mask covering them. For every single in-person class last semester, it was a rule that all students and staff were required to wear masks for the entire duration of class and inside classroom buildings. 

So it ultimately makes very little sense to allow students to gather and converse in indoor spaces with no masks if there is an underlying intention to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant. Especially if classes are simultaneously being held on Zoom.

For close to a year and a half, many students sat in their online classes, anticipating the day they would finally be welcomed back onto campus for in-person classes.

Countless students have voiced their opinions on how Zoom classes and “Zoom fatigue” took a sincere mental toll on them.

Second-semester juniors at Suffolk University have yet to have a “normal” spring semester, and it appears as though there is a chance they won’t have a shot at that until they are seniors.

Many Suffolk students are scared. Not because they are scared to catch the Omicron variant, which does still remain a concern, but scared that their college experience is about to be taken away from them once more.

They are scared that their mental health is about to take another dip as they are held hostage in their own homes, apartments or dorms. They are scared that their hard-earned grades and GPA are going to be victim if online learning lasts longer than two weeks.

They are scared that the continuous arrivals of new strands and variants will trump their vaccination and booster shots and create a recursive process of needing to get new shots to protect from new variants.

Fear can often be the leading cause in drastic decision making. And there is certainly much to fear. However, this is not the end of the world, or the semester for that matter. It is only two weeks. Although it would be foolish to disregard the fact that that is what they told us in March of 2020.

Stay strong and optimistic, but do save some tears for Jan. 31 – when the virtual learning situation will be reassessed – just in case. 

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickMilano12

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About the Contributor
Nick Milano, Opinion Editor | he/him
Nick is a senior broadcast journalism major from Pelham, New Hampshire. His main passions include sports, specifically football and basketball, photography, and writing. Nick’s future goals include becoming a sports analyst and creating a large social media presence. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickMilano12 Email him at [email protected]

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OPINION: Suffolk has wrongfully reintroduced virtual learning