By: Abigail Nelson, Community Editor
Students were packing their bags and raiding for food in Lower Brooks in Gorham after receiving a confirmation email that classes will be switched to online for the rest of the semester. This decision goes into effect on March 23, the day students were to return from spring break. The email breaking the news came rather quickly and didn’t give students, or faculty, much time to prepare for not returning to campus after spring break.
Amidst the turmoil, resident students and those who live off-campus have something to say.
“I am very, very upset,” said senior media studies major Cody Curtis, “while this situation is important to be aware of, I think they are blowing it out of proportion.” The sudden announcement of the campus closing has left several students like Curtis wondering what is going to happen next.
Across campus, students are divided between fear of what is to come and those who think the school system is overreacting. Most students understand the precautionary measures and why they are important, however, the students are still frustrated. “I’m glad they made the decision before we left for spring break,” Ryan Geary, a freshman music education major. However, this decision came quickly and has left most students and faculty unprepared.
Some students have already been taking classes online. Sophomore marketing student, Matthew Bernier, feels fortunate the classes he has now already have an online component. Other students are in the same boat, however, several classes will not be easy to move online.
Students are concerned about the transition of their labs, clinicals, final group projects, and other similar classes and activities that require in-person contact. The campus closing its facilities takes away certain resources that students have the privilege of using for their classes, which limits the effectiveness of the classes overall. Other concerns students are facing is the possible lack of internet or poor connection that students may face at home.
“Universities pride themselves on flexibility, so I think that this will be a really good test of that flexibility,” Bernier said.
Students are left wondering what plans the UMS system has to help in this transition, as the students have been given little information about future plans. “It doesn’t feel like they have an appropriate plan for how they are going to take care of the situation,” Curtis said. “This is going to screw up so many things, like housing, meal plans for people, and effect students in international programs. It doesn’t make any sense.” Said August Thornton, a sophomore theater major.
The school-wide online shift has affected more than just the academics on campus. The theater department had several shows planned for the rest of the semester, but they were all canceled. All school funded trips that were scheduled to happen over spring break have also been canceled and the current consensus is that students will not be refunded. Sporting events have been canceled, meaning that spring athletes lose their season this year.
Out of state students are at a greater disadvantage as they don’t have the luxury of moving their belongings home easily. “As someone who doesn’t live close by it’s annoying because I’ll have to come back to get my things.” Said Kevin Stasalovich, a sophomore business marketing major from New Hampshire. To add to the stress, when students come back to gather their things, “they will be subject to quarantine or self-isolation measures on their return,” according to the email sent out by Chancellor Dannell Malloy.