Students Surveyed on Possible Spring 2021 Conditions

Carolina Carneiro '24, Staff Writer

Students were sent a survey via email on Friday, Oct. 16 by the college to gather more information regarding the potential return to campus for the spring 2021 semester during the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey comes just weeks before the possible announcement of the college’s decision about the spring semester. It consisted of several questions about students’ comfort level regarding returning to campus with all online classes, a hybrid format, roommates, and/or sharing bathrooms with several other students.

President Margee Ensign outlined the importance of obtaining this data on a call with The Dickinsonian.

“It’s another piece of information. It’s not decisive, but it’s really important as we try to figure out how many rooms would be available and what [classroom space would] look like,” said Ensign. She added that, “…making the decision is just the first step in this, because then you have to implement it, and do it in a way that we’re following all the health and safety guidelines that we believe in.”

George Stroud, vice president for Student life and dean of students, said, “Those responses will help us better determine not only how we’re coming back but how we’re going to be able to house students, and how many people we should expect to return based on the decisions that we make.” Both Ensign and Stroud emphasized that having this data will be critical in the decision-making process.

The inquiry yielded mixed responses from students. On one end, it gave some students hope regarding the possible return to campus despite various uncertainties while other students felt unsure about their responses and returning to campus.

When first reading the survey, Becca Brown ’24 said she was excited about the possibility of going to campus next semester. “Overall, it gave me hope, however I still have some doubts considering that so much could change in a matter of months,” she said.

Ian Spurrier ’24 echoed these sentiments. He said he was “very confident with the responses that [he] provided,” adding that he would do anything to make the return to campus possible. “However, I know that experts are predicting a surge in the virus this winter so I am not really sure what will happen,” he said.

Sher Bahadur ’22 thought that the questions were relevant to the current situation but expressed some concern regarding their true purpose. “The lack of depth in the questions tells me that they were asked for the administration’s sake so that they could make the best financial decision for the college rather than to understand students’ situations and our thoughts.”

When asked about his responses to the survey, Cristian Tineo ’22 said, “I indicated that I’m less willing to go back to campus in the spring.” Even though he currently resides on campus, Tineo still felt conflicted about his decision, which he partly attributed to, “lost confidence in this country’s ability to handle the pandemic and worry about what things could look like by then.”

Utilizing the input from students, faculty and staff, and experts, Dickinson administration plans to announce their decision by the first week in November.