Cars crowd the sidewalks and streets in front of dorms. Students carry boxes and push red bins full of belongings to be loaded up. A girl hugs her friend and takes a photo in front of the Clawson Hall sign.
It's a normal sight to see at the end of the spring semester.
Except, it’s mid-March.
On Friday, March 13, Miami University President Greg Crawford sent an email to the student body informing them that a return to face-to-face instruction would not be possible this semester.
This announcement displaced many students in dorms, who were initially urged to move out by March 27. In an updated email from Dean of Students Kimberly Moore, students were informed that residence halls would close a week sooner, on March 21. Students may only stay on campus if absolutely necessary.
Many first-year students are upset that they do not get to finish their freshman year.
“Last semester was really hard for me because I just had a really hard time transitioning to college,” said first-year Meta Hoge. “And then this semester I felt like I was finally finding a group of friends and just not feeling as lost. So, to have to leave when things were going really good just made me really sad.”
In addition to leaving her friends, first-year nutrition major Allison Lombardi feels distressed that she will miss out on the independence she has in college. She also just joined the sorority Delta Gamma and frets about missing out on the new member experience.
“Everyone says [the first semester] is the best semester in a sorority,” Lombardi said.
Anxieties about online classes are also arising, especially with GPA requirements hanging in the balance. Hoge, who hasn’t decided on a major, said that she is striving to get into the Farmer School of Business but doesn’t know how online classes will affect her grades.
First-year Wendy Poe, a speech pathology and interactive media studies double major, dreads having to take online classes because she finds it more difficult to stay on top of things.
“I find myself slightly less disciplined when I’m on my own terms than [when I’m] held more accountable by other people or if I have a place to go to,” she said.
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Online classes cause additional problems for students who live out-of-state or in different time zones as well as international students. First-year marketing major Dhruv Dhawan will return to India this week, and when it’s day in the U.S., it’s night in India.
“I’ve got to stay up all night for all of my various classes, and then sleep in the day,” Dhawan said. “So it's coming really hard for me until May.”
Even though they find the transition upsetting, most students acknowledge that these precautions are necessary.
“I know a lot of people are getting displaced right now and they’re not happy about online classes, but I’d rather them do too much to keep us safe than not enough,” Poe said.
Students with questions about the coronavirus and the university’s policies can reach out to Associated Student Government.