Packed Up: BU cancels first semester in-person classes

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By Eva Wozniak, Aaron Boivin and Talia Slater

On Aug. 27,  BU President Bashaar Hanna announced in an email that BU is moving to remote learning starting Aug. 31 due to the trend in positive COVID-19 cases. There will be exceptions for some classes to remain in-person.

“Students in labs and clinicals whose courses will continue in person will receive further communication from their respective deans no later than 5 p.m. today,” said Hanna. 

The decision about in-person classes beginning on Oct. 7 will be made by Sept. 21.

Student Erin Cleary hopes BU realizes the importance of nursing majors having access to the Simulated Learning Lab even with the campus closed to other students. Cleary said they will not be prepared to go into the nursing field when they graduate if they go back to online learning for skills and clinicals. 

“We can’t learn the skills and practices at home,” said Cleary.

“We need the supplies and mannequins that are in the SLL to allow us to learn the skills that we will use every single day once we graduate and become nurses. There’s no way to learn how to properly give an IV online.”

Many students with in-person classes dread going to the online format. Some students face the question, should they stay or go? 

“I’m staying on campus to get the college experience that I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” said freshman Benjamin Clary. 

Hanna confirmed that students would be reimbursed for their unused portion of on-campus living if they choose to leave. 

Student Riana Dickson says “Bloomsburg knew we would continue online, they just wanted our money.” 

Although BU will be reimbursing on-campus students, students in privately owned off-campus housing might be locked in a lease for the semester and not be able to be reimbursed. 

“I think as soon as Bloomsburg had students come back they were too late to change their minds. The damage is done,” student Molly Nesselrodt said.

“Off-campus people have leases they are not going to be allowed out of, so they will choose to stay anyway.”

Student Leslie Mensah said “I feel like Bloomsburg should’ve gathered all the information before sending out an email. This is stressful and very inconsiderate.”

BU alumni also shared their thoughts on the announcement. 

A BU alumnus said, “Why did BU not test students for COVID-19 before they came back to campus. It was not responsible.”

Another BU alumnus stated, “Although I wish the semester would have continued as planned, I understand that the safety of the students take priority. The University did the best they could in a difficult situation. I hope that students can return safely for the second session.”

Prior to President Hanna’s email, BUnow asked for students’ anonymous thoughts via Instagram.

“People should have been tested before re-entering the semester,” one student who responded said.

Another responded, “I feel that the school should not have let the students come back to campus at all.”

One student felt that “BU literally scammed these freshmen into paying for a room when all their classes are online.”

Another simply responded with the shrugging emoji.

“I hope more people take this seriously. We might get sent home because students want to throw parties and not wear their masks,” another student added.

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