Opinion | Don’t bring us back

With the massive amount of COVID-19 infections in Iowa and in the rest of the country, there is absolutely no reason why the University of Iowa should be in person next semester.


Thomas A. Stewart

The Old Capital is seen on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.

Signe Nettum, Opinions Columnist

Midterm season at the University of Iowa is over — at least, for most students; I have a class that has projects every three weeks, so it never stops there. Other than finals, the next step for students is to start looking at classes for the Spring 2021 semester. A semester that should unequivocally be online entirely.

It is going to be a little different this time around. 

Because it is hard to predict the future, especially with COVID-19 still looming over our heads, students have yet to even see what classes are available next semester. Professors and administrators are still figuring out how to juggle classes the next semester, and they do not have a full summer vacation to plan it. 

I believe that because we still do not know what is going to happen this winter and beginning of spring — will we get a vaccine? Will it even be effective? Will we have more cases now that the bars are open? Did the efforts the university implemented this semester actually do anything? — the University of Iowa should automatically assume that the greater majority — if not all classes — will be moved online this semester until Iowa, and the U.S as a whole, has a hand on COVID-19 and spreading issues. 

While the University has made preventative measures for the future, like canceling Spring Break and canceling abroad trips, these measures keep students on campus, in close proximity in dorms and in classrooms. 

I will even settle for a compromise. Even if a section of classes cannot be held online, make sure that all prerequisites from every major are online. I have mentioned this in a past article, but more issues keep arising as I take a prerequisite this semester and witness scenarios from friends and classmates. 

What if a family member catches COVID-19 and the class cannot make full accommodations for you? What if you lose a scholarship because of class requirements and you cannot risk traveling across the country to stay in an apartment for one class, then return home and risk your parent’s life at your arrival? What about all of the effort you put into staying on campus — renting an apartment with people you do not know and do not follow safety regulations, driving six hours a day for one class, even at the risk of getting your family members sick — and the professor immediately grants another student aid because that student has a health issue, but not their parents?

While TALA has tried to grant students aid, in an email sent from the administration back on Sep. 14, a total of 721 requests were made. 352 were CDC-health related concerns and were dealt with. The other 369 did not follow CDC identified conditions, and there was no answer on how they were handled. 

Instead of having students question and make uneducated risks of returning back to campus next semester, which may be put online early like Spring 2020 was, make all of the classes online this next semester. Students who know where they are going to be next semester can finally feel a sense of relief and stability in these chaotic times. 

I would rather go to a University that was transparent and safe, rather than one that takes risks in having students on campus.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.