Keene State College recently announced that with the promise of available COVID-19 vaccines around the corner, it plans to have a fully in-person semester in the fall. This means that in-person classes could return to 100% capacity. The Equinox believes a fully-open campus next fall is viable, however, regulations should still be in place.
The Equinox is excited at the idea of operations on campus going back to normal, however, The Equinox also believes it would be unwise to immediately revert to how things were prior to the pandemic. Although more and more individuals are getting vaccinated, there is no guarantee that every member of the Keene State Community will be vaccinated by next fall. Therefore, students, staff and faculty should still be required to wear masks.
Another concern with opening is the rise of various strains of COVID-19. If there is a strain that is resistant to the current vaccines, then The Equinox believes fully opening the campus in the fall could prove dangerous and lead to new outbreaks, causing the school to lock down. The history of the pandemic so far has shown that reopening amid a pandemic leads to further infection, however, hopefully further vaccination in the community will mitigate or even halt the spread.
Although returning to full capacity in-person classes sounds exciting, The Equinox believes that the college should maintain its online presence that it established at the beginning of the pandemic. Some students may feel more comfortable in an online setting, through Zoom, and if they are not yet vaccinated then that option should be made available to those students and faculty. Other students may also be more productive in an online setting and feel that they can get more work done when they take all their classes remotely from their dorm or house.
The Equinox believes that the pandemic has catalyzed the evolution of online learning and the school should not abandon that curriculum outright upon fully opening the school. The option to attend classes in-person should be made available to those comfortable and the option to continue learning remotely should also be made available to those who don’t feel comfortable with a fully open campus.
The Equinox believes that, theoretically, returning to a fully operational campus in the fall sounds promising but with positive cases still occurring in the community and the overall unpredictability of the virus, Keene State needs to be cautious about reopening in the fall. Given that COVID-19 still remains to be a serious issue on a global scale, there should be no rush for the school to return to normal operations. The Equinox believes that, if the school is capable of reopening fully and keeping the spread at a minimum, then the idea of returning back to normal sounds feasible. However, the school should be just as ready to continue operations under the same COVID-19 regulations that are in place now to keep the virus at bay.