Columbus State student weighs the pros of returning to campus as statewide COVID-19 cases continue to rise

From the WRBL Internship Assignment Desk

This story was produced as part of the WRBL 2020 Summer Intern program

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – COVID-19 made an instant impact on the United States, with the number of cases leading to the closure of public facilities and universities.

LeeAysia Williamson, a Columbus State University student, packed her bags to go home. Now, with school starting soon she’s packing her bags to come back to town.

“I first heard about the virus towards the beginning of March. No one was taking it seriously until we were ordered to go home by the university,” said Williamson.

Williamson’s journey back home was more than a down the street trip. The student-athlete packed her bags and headed home to North Carolina.

“When we were issued to return home I felt concerned, a little scared, a little nervous and a little worried because two weeks before then everything was fine and then two weeks later they were telling us to go home and to not return after spring break,” Williamson said.

Face-to-face classes and a basketball season coming to an end Williamson found herself looking for new hobbies to occupy her time.

Williamson said “When I first came home, I got a job working for a temp agency. We were making masks for COVID. After that, I found new hobbies. I picked up on painting. I started to read more books and write in my journal more often.”

Living hours away from Columbus State, Williamson has made arrangements to return for the fall semester.

“Continuing the spring semester online was no different to me. Gratefully, I was already enrolled in all online courses. However, this fall semester I want to continue online classes as a safety precaution. Several people attending Columbus State did not learn well online,” says Williamson.

The students and staff are unsure if they will be on campus or continuing online. The number of cases are rising, and testing labs are backed up. People are worried about their health and safety. By March 2020 the state of Georgia had just above 1,000 cases. As of July 29, we have almost 171,000 cases, statewide.

“If we are required to go back to classes on campus, I think that face masks should be a requirement anywhere on campus, along with social distancing.  I would also want smaller classrooms including a smaller number of people in classes. Cleanliness checks must be implemented in my opinion as well,” Williamson said.

Columbus State University is set to start classes on Aug. 17th. With the start date less than a month from now, decisions have to be made on how to reopen.

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