This January marked the second anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States. As of February 6, 2022, Governor Phil Murphy confirmed on Twitter that New Jersey has had 1,625 new confirmed cases. The Stockton community has worked diligently to provide a safe environment and has faced many challenges that came along with the pandemic including, online learning, student well-being and mental health, enrollment, and more.
Despite the surge of the Omicron variant, the university’s goal for the 2021-2022 school year was to allow students and faculty to participate in as many in-person activities as possible, while following health and safety guidelines. In addition, the University recently mandated all students and faculty to receive their booster shots and submit proof by February 28. For many students, coming back to campus has been relieving and long-awaited. For others, the surge of Omicron has only added onto the back-to-school nerves.
Sabrina Ringrose, a senior majoring in anthropology and sociology, stated that encouraging in-person meetings are not necessary.
“Students are already going to frat parties; millions of people have already lost loved ones,” said Ringrose. She empathized that the universities top priority should be assisting students who have trouble learning online.
“We already do everything online” Ringrose stated. “I really don’t care about mandatory boost shots since the vaccine was also mandated”
Mickey Caville, a psychology major set to graduate in 2023, stated that it’s been scary coming back to campus after noticing a lot of students don’t take the COVID policies seriously.
“I see some people wearing their mask on their chin. I’m mainly worried about getting sick and my grades. The pandemic has had a huge impact on my anxiety,” said Caville. Additionally, she believes that it is unfair of Stockton university to mandate the booster shot.
Iman Habib, a freshman majoring in Political science, stated that, despite being a nation that boasts about our freedom and inclusivity, we forget to realize that forcing a medication is not appropriate or necessary.
“It seems like the university is making very impactful decisions without the consent of students,” said Habib. “The university is forgetting to realize what type of mental physical or religious impacts this decision can make on a student’s life”
Ian Loeffler, a senior computer science major, stated that moving back to in-person classes was refreshing yet frustrating. “Since the start of the pandemic, I have known more people in the past three to four months who have caught the virus that when classes were online,” said Loeffler.
Initially Loeffler was shocked to see that universities were bringing students back to campus, but he is glad to be back.
He said, “I think Stockton choose a poor time to mandate students to get their booster shots. Since they already mandate the original vaccines, students should have the choice on whether or not they get the booster shot.”
Monica Rodriguez, a sophomore environmental science major, is thankful to have the opportunity to learn in person again. For Rodriguez, it’s all about the everyday interactions. Whether it’s with her classmates, getting to know her professors or even seeing the cats in F-wing.
“I feel like we have to all try our best to simply show up on time,” said Rodriguez, “be fully present and follow the protocols we are given so we can continue to make the most out of our college experience.”
Professor of Feminist Theory and Literature, Deborah Gussman, admitted that she was nervous to return to campus but is glad to be back.
“It’s like I was seeing the world in black and white and now everything is in vibrant colors,” said Gussman. “My students are on fire! Everyone is bursting with Ideas, emotions and excitement about learning.”
She believes the only tension on campus are the masking policies. To Gussman it is worrisome to see resistance students, and even faculty have about wearing a mask indoors.
“I’m willing to put up with it if it means all of us will be safer. I wish everyone would mask up with gratitude for what we can do!”
Academic Advising is pressing professor to be on campus due to the revenue the university acquires from students being in dorms. As Stockton’s Accreditation as a four-year university.
It requires at least half of its classes to be face to face. Since the beginning of the Spring 2022 semester there has been a total of 299 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 217 of them being cleared. This information can be found on the Stockton University webpage under the Emergency Management tab.
For students who have questions or concerns please email Student Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. From everyone at The Argo, we hope you have a healthy and smooth spring semester.