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Rutgers students speak on U. spring semester planning

Following announcements from University President Jonathan Holloway and Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy about Rutgers' planning for the Spring 2021 semester, students said they understand the importance of safety despite wanting to come back to campus. – Photo by Wikimedia

An announcement was sent out to the Rutgers—New Brunswick community on Oct. 8 regarding the plans for the Spring 2021 semester. The Daily Targum previously reported that Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy said a plan would be put out in the upcoming weeks about what the spring semester had in store for students.

Molloy reiterated what was said by University President Jonathan Holloway, who also put out an announcement on Sept. 22, showing his commitment to making sure that if on-campus activities do resume they will be thought out thoroughly and put the safety of students first, according to the Targum.

“We aim to safely reinvigorate and repopulate our campuses with increased opportunities for in-person instruction and on-campus housing,” said Holloway, according to Rutgers' website.

With the current plans for the spring semester to be released, though, it allows for Rutgers students to wonder what their spring semester will look like. 

“Each chancellor is developing tailored campus plans that will combine robust remote instruction with in-person instruction for the spring semester within the limits of responsible social distancing. In parallel, each chancellor will carefully expand on-campus housing opportunities. Instructional and housing decisions will each be informed by and aligned with appropriate testing and safety protocols,” said Holloway, according to Rutgers' website.

Joseph Caputo, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said he sympathizes with Holloway's first year as President of the University due to the situation he was put into.

“I feel almost bad for him because this was his first time being president, and (he) got thrown into baptism by fire on a whole (other) level,” Caputo said. “I feel there really isn’t a right answer to give everyone.”

Due to previously being a student in the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Caputo said he knows the importance of why some classes would benefit more from being in-person rather than online.

Like so many students, Caputo said he is at home because that is the decision that makes the most sense, but some students want to come back to campus and feel like they are getting the college experience they are longing for.

Elizabeth Van Roosendaal, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said she just transferred to Rutgers and feels as though her experience is incomplete.

After Molloy’s announcement about potential spring semester plans, she said it made her hopeful for her second semester and the possibility of being on campus.

“I hope that we are hybrid, with some classes online and some in-person,” Roosendaal said. “I don't know if this is plausible or not, but I know that some schools are doing it so I would hope that ours would be able to as well.”

Roosendaal said she wants to come onto campus so that she can get a better experience of learning as well. “I think that it is hard to do work in the basement of my parent's house as well as having to see all my friends at school while stuck at home,” Roosendaal said. 

While she said she remains hopeful, there is still uncertainty since there is currently no plan that has been officially released.

Marisa Amati, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, said she is anxious about what will come with the spring semester. 

“I feel like a lot of personal and academic decisions rely on this announcement so the sooner we find out, the better, personally,” Amati said.  

Amati said she lives in an off-campus apartment and feels lucky that she gets a bit of the college experience but also understands that not everyone gets to be in New Brunswick. After hearing that a plan was going to come out and wanting it to come out sooner rather than later, she said she sees safety as a priority for her fellow students.

“I don't think that it's safe enough to be fully in person with no restrictions,” Amati said. “I think that if there were social distancing protocols and cleaning procedures with some restrictions, that it would be safe enough for there to be more in-person classes and students living in dorms.”


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