Over the break, APSU announced that it plans to resume predominantly in-person classes for the Fall 2021 semester. While many students are wary of the university’s decision, some are excited to return to –or begin— a more traditional college career.

One Gov excited for a potential return to the classroom is Antonio Maldonado, a junior Marketing major.

“I am excited for [Fall 2021],” Maldonado said. “It’s like a step to getting back to normal and bringing people back to campus again. I hope we do it. I hope it sticks to that schedule too.”

While numerous classes were hybrid last semester, there are freshmen that are still waiting to attend their first in-person class at APSU. Many such as Freshman Daysia Ash, are eagerly awaiting that first face-to-face class since becoming a Governor.

“I just did my first semester as a freshman and it is weird,” Ash said on an unprecedented first semester. “I’ve never done fully online, but it was crazy. I hope to get into these classrooms and picture what [Antonio] has seen.” 

It can be difficult for many to find the motivation for attending online classes. Sophomore Hannah Breeden says that she cannot wait to attend her first classes since transferring to APSU, stating that she struggled getting out of bed and attending her Zoom-led classes.

“I think it’s a good idea because I have had mostly online classes and it was a struggle to get my work done. If I know that I have to be in class, I will actually get out of bed and be in class.” Breeden said. 

Even though many freshmen are anxiously awaiting their first classes on campus, there are some such as Jorden Alicea who are uneasy, but hopeful, for a return back to normality in the fall.

“Being a freshman, I never got the full college experience [last semester],” Alicea said. “I am a tiny bit afraid because we don’t know the effects of the vaccine. I would love for it to work perfectly and for everything to be okay in the fall, it’s just that I’m not sure. After everything went to some form of normal briefly, everything went back to being horrible. I am afraid it will be another situation like that.”

Jorden Alicea shares his opinion about Austin Peay going back to in-person classes in the Fall. -Nichole Barnes

While APSU recommended students to be tested before returning to campus, there is no way to guarantee that every person walking the campus will have been tested for COVID-19 when classes begin on Jan. 19. This worries some students such as Mikaela Smith, a junior Computer Science major. Smith says that she likes the idea of returning to class, but says the university should continue with the majority of classes being online and hybrid.

“I think it would be kind of hard [to go back in person] because they do not have mandatory COVID tests for students which would make sure everyone was good,” Smith said. “I think it is a fun idea, but I really think how they had it last semester was good with some online and some in-person to create more space.”

While there are people excited about the possibility of returning to face-to-face instruction, many students believe that the risk far outweighs the reward. This is the case for sophomore Physics major, Sierra Walker. Walker says there are numerous people that still do not take the virus seriously and that eliminating the various online courses is not worth one’s health.

“I do not think it is a good idea,” Walker said. “If you go to a local restaurant, you’ll see how people don’t take COVID seriously. If we go back to in-person classes, students will be forced to choose between debt or their health and that is not fair.”

While many students seem to be on one side or the other about the topic, there are some that do not care if the university stays online or returns to in-person teaching. Candice Summons, a junior Business Management major, prefers the online work because of her strong time-management skills but also understands that many of her fellow Governors have struggled greatly with online learning.

“It does not really matter to me, because all of my classes are online,” Summons said. “I like online classes because I am just one of those people who do not procrastinate and schedule their time well. I think it will be pretty beneficial for a lot of students because I know a lot of them are failing pretty bad and overall grades have really declined since we started going online and virtual.

“It’s really sucked for a lot of people, so I am pretty sure people are going to be a lot more excited. Unfortunately, people are still scared of COVID and the virus and getting infected, so I do not know if people will be too excited about that. We are in Tennessee.”