Students return to campus for spring semester

Rachel Greene, Editor-in-chief

As classes began again  last week, many students  trickled into the residence  halls, their Greek housing  facilities and throughout  their residences in Macomb.  Others remain in their respective hometowns, far  away from Western Illinois  University, to complete the  semester in a remote fashion  in an attempt to stay safe  from the COVID-19 virus.  

During a typical year, it  would be safe to assume  that the majority of students  would be in Macomb during  the semester. Now, many  students have all online  or remote courses and are  choosing to complete them  from a distance. 

“I opted to stay home  this semester for multiple  reasons,” said sophomore  student Molly Burns. “The  main reason I came home  this semester is because  I was not able to get the  proper nutrients in foods on  campus due to my dietary  restrictions. At home I have  access to more options and  a full kitchen to cook my  own food in. Besides that,  I wanted to come home be cause I felt really closed off  on campus. I had no car,  only one in person class and  none of the clubs or activi ties I am involved in were allowed to meet in person  last semester, so the only  times I was ever leaving my  dorm room or seeing anyone  besides my roommate was  to attend that one class or  get food at one of the dining  halls. Staying on campus no  longer felt like a worthwhile  experience or investment. I  am lucky enough that my  home life is a healthy place  to live and learn remotely,  but not all students can say  the same.” 

Unlike Burns, many stu dents have returned to cam pus and feel that being here  in person is worthwhile.  Even if their classes are  fully online, some students  continue to pay the price to live in their residence halls  to continue their education  behind a screen in Macomb.  

“Unlike the Fall, most of  my classes are actually in  person this semester,” says  freshman student Chloe  Curl. “While the COVID-19  virus is something that is  always on all of our minds,  I prefer to be on campus  and living in my dorm during the semester. I feel more  connected to the school and  more engaged in my learning this way. If I was at  home, I do not think I could  focus as much or earn the  grades I intend to earn. I  am also involved on campus  and hoping that as the vaccine rolls out, we will begin to transition to more in per son meetings. I believe that  Western Illinois University  has policies in place that  will help me not to contract  the virus and feel safe at tending my classes and living here.” 

Whether or not students  have opted to return to  campus for the Spring semester, classes and learn ing will continue to occur  despite the challenges and  changes that COVID-19  has forced upon students  across the nation and the  world. Only time can tell  when it will no longer be  a question if students will  inhabit the Western Illinois  University campus.