Students react to shift to online classes

Students say they have mixed feelings on the announcement that Eastern classes will be entirely online following Thanksgiving Break.

Noah McCammon, a sophomore political science major, said he isn’t looking forward to transitioning to an online format but believes the university made a good decision.

“I think if a large portion of students decide to stay home after Thanksgiving break, it will give the university a nice chunk of time to do a deep clean. While it would definitely be beneficial for the school to go online, I selfishly wish it wasn’t going online. I myself tend to do much better in classes when I am physically in the classes,” McCammon said. “I’m glad the option to not return for the rest of the semester is provided, though.”

Grace Knapp, a sophomore psychology and criminology major, shared concerns about online classes.

“I knew that it was only a matter of time before the university was put online, I actually thought that it would be earlier than this. I am mostly worried about the classes that I originally had in person because I don’t know how I will adjust to those being put online as well,” Knapp said. “My statistics class will be especially hard to do online.”

Juan Castillo, a graduate student studying nutrition and dietetics, said he wasn’t surprised for the move online but is surprised there is a plan to continue in-person learning in the spring.

“I am not surprised the university decided to go online as the COVID numbers kept rising,” Castillo said. “I am surprised to see the university is allowing students to continue in person learning for the spring semester since they haven’t discussed any changes that they’re willing to make to prevent a situation like this again.”

Many students appear to be in favor of coming back to campus despite classes moving online.

McCammon and Castillo said they plan to return to campus because of their jobs with the Housing and Dining Office.

Knapp says she hopes to return to the campus after the break.

“I am unsure at this point and will have to talk to my parents over break,” Knapp said. “However, I would like to come back because I like being on campus.”

Despite wanting to be on campus students also say they worry about students coming back to campus with COVID after spending time with family.

Knapp said she has concerns of students going home to COVID hotspots.

“I know that the students at EIU come from all across the country and are all most likely going home for break,” Knapp said. “There are definitely some hotspots across the United States and especially in Chicago, which is where a lot of EIU students are from and it worries me that many students will bring COVID back to campus and put other students in danger.”

Castillo shared those concerns.

“I am concerned with students going home and potentially coming in contact with a person who is positive with COVID and infecting their families and potentially infecting other students once they come back to campus,” Castillo said.

Student also have concerns about not being refunded if they decided to not return to campus and because of the move online.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I think that some students should be allowed to stay home and get a refund, but it seems that the school is trying to suck as much money out of us as they possibly can. They are making students pick between safety and affordability and that just isn’t right,” Knapp said. “We shouldn’t have to pay for housing and dining for three weeks if we are not going to be on campus to utilize those resources.”

Castillo said he understands that the university had a tough decision to make but felt it was made thoughtfully.

“I understand that EIU cannot refund the students their money this time because if the school were to lose money again it would put it in a tough position to remain open and in debt. If the university goes into debt then it will have to cut programs like it’s done in the past to remain open,” Castillo said. “I also like the fact that the university is giving students the option to return and to get their money’s worth by allowing them to utilize their dorms the dining centers and other resources around campus.


Corryn Brock, Heather Vosburgh and Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]