MORGANTOWN, W.Va. After weeks without in-person classes, West Virginia University students were allowed back on the downtown campus on Monday.
The university moved all courses online following the Labor Day weekend because of a significant spike in COVID-19 cases among the student body. Freshman Isabela Davis said she was excited to be back to in-person learning because it is a much more accessible form of schooling than the entirely online method she was forced to adapt to since early September.
“I am very very happy about it. In-person classes are a lot easier for me than online classes because in my senior year it was very hard for me to adjust to online classes,” Davis said. “It makes it easier to focus and makes it easier to study instead of all the distractions around us whenever we’re sitting down in our house.”
Davis’ sentiment was echoed by many students who raced by going to or coming from their first day back on campus. One of them, Garrett Littell, also a freshman, said he was “enthused and just so happy to be back on campus.”
He said instead of sitting inside all day and feeling like he’s alone, he was happy to be able to finally mingle amongst others again and get more of the traditional college experience. Littell added that he would be devastated if WVU were to reverse course and go back to being completely online again.
“I would be pretty upset because it’s like they gave it to us and then they took it away, it would not really be fun if they took it away again,” Littell said.
Like Davis, freshman Glenn Whited said he was happy to be back in class because it is a more productive means of learning. Whited said he has four in-person classes that he was glad to able to finally return to.
“With online classes, I just feel more likely to just kind of not be engaged and really just kind of be more interested in hanging around than learning,” Whited said.
Davis, Littell, Whited, and sophomore Gabrielle McDonald all said they saw students taking WVU’s COVID-19 guidelines seriously by wearing masks and socially distancing. McDonald said she had seen people without masks but that was while they were walking outside.
Whited said there were some violations of social distancing rules in the Mountainlair as people waited in line to buy food, but they were all masked.
This willingness to comply with the rules is something that Davis said wasn’t always the case at the start of the semester, and that makes her hopeful.
“The very first week that I was here people were laid back, but then it kicked in and people got more serious,” Davis said. “You get emails sent to you to be randomly COVID tested and those people have to go into the Rec Center to get tested. People are taking it more seriously since the whole break, so that makes me happy.”