COVID19 Is Breeding Uncertainty Among Transfer Students
By Lauryn Lawson
In March of last year, around the time that most colleges were on their spring breaks, on-campus classes were suspended, and students and staff were given a week to prepare for virtual and online instruction. Since the Spring 2020 semester, many secondary education institutions have turned to virtual classes, hybrid classes, limited in-person classes, and strictly online classes.
While Chattanooga State has recently announced the plan to reopen at 80% capacity in the fall semester of 2021, many transfer students are still waiting to hear from the colleges they are transferring to. With the COVID-19 vaccine being distributed among Americans, many transfer students are hopeful that they will be able to attend in-person classes.
COVID-19 has changed the priorities of many students. Many transfer students are questioning whether the possibility of taking online classes in the fall semester is worth the high tuition rates. Additionally, many students are opting to stay closer to home while attending a four-year college so that they will be closer to their families.
“I have no idea what the next fall semester will look like. I did intend to apply to MTSU and earn my bachelor’s degree there, but now I’m considering attending UTC and taking virtual classes”, says Marybeth Mangrum, a second-year student at Chattanooga State.
“My dad recently got over COVID-19 and was hospitalized, so that was a big thing I dealt with. It made me wonder if I actually wanted to move to Murfreesboro to attend college because I am not sure how I’d deal with being away from him. This pandemic has caused me to reevaluate my priorities, and ultimately, I’ve placed my family on a higher pedestal than school. I am looking for alternative ways to stick closer to my loved ones while still getting a quality education,” Mangrum says.
Alongside students, colleges are still awaiting answers by monitoring the tide of COVID-19 and the progress of the vaccine distribution while working under restrictions due to the virus.
“I think the upcoming fall semester is going to be more complex than ever, but that complexity will be good,” said Juan Antonio Alonso, the interim director of the Global Scholars Program at Chattanooga State. “We are a higher education institution serving students in all kinds of life circumstances: all ages, all economic extractions, high school students, adult learners, full time students, part time students/full time workers, etc… This flexibility in approaches is good. More work for us as a college but remember, the word Community is in our name. We owe it to y’all.”