Union University welcomes students back for first day of classes
JACKSON, Tenn.– It’s the first day of classes at one local university, with students now back on campus after COVID-19 forced remote learning.
“[Its] always an exciting time to start a new semester, but I think especially so this semester since it’s been a lot longer than we’ve had students on campus,” said Tim Ellsworth, associate vice president of university communications at Union University.
It’s been a smooth transition so far at Union University as the first day of classes started Tuesday.
Many students say that the chance to be back to learn on campus is a nice change of environment.
“I’m just so happy to be back. It’s just nice to be around people, even though it is different,” said Jenna Mincy, a junior majoring in graphic design.
Ellsworth says over the summer, the university focused on making sure there would be enough available protective equipment, and that a health and sanitation plan was put in motion.
“That was our primary concern through all this was making sure that our students, faculty, and staff are safe and protected, and we think we’ve accomplished that,” Ellsworth said.
A few students say they appreciate the length some professors have gone to to ensure distancing in the classrooms.
Some departments even received grants to make sure they had enough sanitation supplies so the professors could teach.
“All our teachers can have the face shields instead of masks, which really prohibits their ability to speak in front of classes,” Myles Gibson, an electrical engineering student, said.
Students say they are willing to follow whatever mandates they need if it ensures keeping the social aspect of college that they’ve missed.
“Seating in classes has been different, like we’re more spaced out, kind of changing locations. Like, I’ve had class outside today,” Alyssa Slusmeyer, a junior majoring in family studies, said.
“There’s a lot of schools that are closed down, so we really just want to stay at the school and, you know, be able to hang out with each other because no one likes online school,” Nathan Golden, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said.
One major change Ellsworth says the university has made is creating student housing specifically for quarantining purposes, if needed.