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UTK Students Weigh In on COVID-19 Guidelines

WRITTEN BY Frances Seiters

Over the course of 2020, the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in many different ways. It has affected people’s way of life, especially college students across the country.

Colleges across the country have been putting forth and enforcing guidelines and regulations to create a safe environment for students. Many colleges have turned to online learning and are gradually opening in-person classes as the pandemic carries on.

College students have had to adapt to this online learning while living on campus, where it is much easier to retract this deadly virus.

With the numbers of cases still increasing, regulations are slowly becoming less strict, and students are concerned about their safety.

In a survey conducted towards UTK students, students were asked how they felt about how the university has handled the pandemic.

According to Majed Massad, “It does well in some areas but in others, it’s absolutely careless and that is dangerous.”

The issue of being inconsistent about these regulations seems to be an ongoing concern among students. Over the 2020-2021 school year, cases have been increasing steadily with periodic spikes leaving students uneasy about how the university is dealing with its cooperation of regulations.

Sadie Frogge gave her input as well.

“They did the bare minimum and care more about their reputation rather than their own students’ health,” Frogge said.

These concerns about how the university has not done enough have been very prominent throughout the year as the university took on the pandemic. Athletics have been kept open with capacity restrictions and Greek life has faced suspensions regarding restriction violations.

Another obstacle that the university has undergone is putting students through online learning. There is a variety of opinions on how they adapted but there are also concerns.

Tina Nguyen felt that paying the same price for tuition was not fair.

“I feel like it’s not worth the tuition I am paying,” Nguyen said.

Many students are paying their expensive tuition just to do classes on a laptop, and many feel like they should be paying less if they are not getting the in-person experience.

With this concern in mind, Nguyen went on to state, “Consider taking the semester off or taking a gap year, especially if you are paying tuition.”

Not only would this decision solve tuition issues, but it is a good option for those concerned for their safety. 

Other students consider online classes to be not as difficult as they once seemed before the year started.

“I feel like UTK has done the best they could in this situation. Online classes are not too bad,” Frogge said.

When it comes to online learning, the only inconvenience seems to be technical difficulties when doing assignments and exams. Other than that, it is seen as convenient because you can do a class wherever there is Wi-Fi.

Despite the positive feedback on online classes, there are still students who struggle.

Kiana Labor offered a bit of advice for those struggling. 

“Go to office hours and make a schedule,” Labor said.

Time management and getting all the help you can get is seen as essential for being successful and advice like this could help students who are taking longer to adapt to this new way of learning.

There is no overall consensus about how the university has handled this pandemic, but for the most part, students are willing to do what it takes to make this pandemic come to an end. Students are ready for in-person classes and normal college life.