As you may have heard, the UC Regents announced their plans to return to in-person learning in the Fall of 2021. Personally, when I heard the announcement, I was shocked. I was a little confused on why it was annouced so soon, but knowing that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel is definitely reassuring. However, with such an important annoucement being made so soon, everyone is going to react differently. I decided to interview some of my friends across the UC system to see how they were feeling about an in-person Fall 2021. Here’s what they said:
- Question 1: How are you feeling about potentially going back in the fall?
“I’m so excited to be going back in the fall! I’m so done with online school!” -Rachel, UC San Diego
“I’m kind of skeptical about it. I think it would be great to go back, but I don’t know how that would work or what it would look like. I’m not sure if big lecture halls are going to be held at full capacity, given that being so close to people even with the vaccine is still a risk. Are they going to limit how many students are allowed? How would they choose which students can go in person? Would it be a hybrid option? There’s a lot up in the air.” -Marianne, UC Berkeley
“I’m worried. They should make it optional for those who don’t feel comfortable going back. All lectures should be Bruincast (recorded) so that people who decide to stay home don’t fall behind in their classes.”- Andrea, UCLA
“I found out through Twitter, and I was shocked because I didn’t think it would be announced so soon. As much as online learning is difficult and I want to be done with it, I can’t help but question how they’re going to accomplish in-person learning so soon.” -Mariam, UC Irvine
- Question 2: Do you think it will be safe to do so?
“We shouldn’t have 100% of students back on campus right away. Maybe like 25%-40%. I don’t think it would be safe to let everyone go back right off the bat, especially in big lecture halls. I think with good planning it could be safe.” -Monica, UCLA
“I think so. There’s always a level of risk, but the benefits outweigh the risk. I doubt they’ll have big lectures in-person, but small discussions will probably be online.”- Joseph, UCLA
“No, I don’t think so. We go to the largest universities in the country, and I’m just picturing what campuses used to look like on Friday afternoons when class got out and it’s just so crowded. I haven’t been in a public space with that many people for so long, and so I guess I’m just kind of scared.”- Marianne, UC Berkeley
“I don’t think it’ll be that safe. With so many students, you can’t account for the actions of everyone. Someone is bound to spread COVID to the rest of the population. They’re definitely going to try and reopen soon for money reasons, but I don’t think it’ll be effective.”-Rachel, UC San Diego
- Question 3: Do you think it’s possible to get all UC students vaccinated by Fall 2021?
“I think so. Based on people I know who have gotten the vaccine, if their projection of mass vaccinations in starting in April works, then it’s possible. College students are part of Phase 2, so it could work.” -Marianne, UC Berkeley
“Yes. We had a whole mandatory immunization list even before COVID, so it’s possible if administered through the school and they made appointments for students.” -Rachel, UC San Diego
“I don’t see how it can happen. Not all students have healthcare, and how will the UC system ensure that all international students have been vaccinated? It’s not impossible, but it would have to be extremely efficient. They haven’t announced a solid plan yet, so I am still skeptical.”-Mariam, UC Irvine
- Question 4: In the event that we do go back in the Fall, what do you think our social life is going to look like?
“I think it’s going to be way wilder than it was before.” -Rachel, UC San Diego
“There’s a Corona culture that will definitely follow us into the new school year. I think there’s a lot of new social etiquette that we’re going to have to learn, like accepting last-minute cancellations and asking people to put on or take off masks. Maybe with the vaccinations, more people will be inclined to hang out. Hopefully, we can work our way towards larger social gatherings, but we shouldn’t start off strong right off the bat.” -Marianne, UC Berkeley
“Everyone has already joked around about how we can’t imagine how we used to share water bottles and chapstick and stuff. There’s still going to be a fear of getting COVID. I don’t see myself returning back to normal like joining clubs and sitting next to people without masks. I think it’ll take a while for things to go back to normal.”- Mariam, UC Irvine
“People are already partying in Westwood, so without a doubt it will escalate when school starts. Students might think if it’s fine to have classes, then it’s fine to throw parties and go out excessively. I think people are going to take things too far, and we might end up having to close again.”-Andrea, UCLA
“I think social life is going to be up to us. We’re all going to have a choice of whether or not we go to big parties or not. Masks will still be used, but I definitely think there will still be parties and large gatherings.”-Joseph, UCLA
How are you feeling about an in-person 2021-22 school year? Excited? Nervous? However you’re feeling, it looks like we all need to gear up and get ready to go back to school. Until then, this is your sign to do your part by continuing to social distance and by getting the vaccine when it becomes available to you! Stay safe everyone!