PHOTO BY SARA SHEIKH / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
For the past year, Laurier Golden Hawks have been struggling to enjoy their university experience under the cloud of COVID-19.
With classes and extracurriculars being online, the Brantford campus has been left deserted.
With the recent announcement of the “emergency brake” for the province as of April 3rd, 2021, there is a level of uncertainty again for students to return to campus in the Fall. The lockdown will take place until May 1st and all students are full of questions as to if this will help the province and ensure a return to in-person learning in the Fall. As of now the province can only do what is expected, follow guidelines and hope.
Before the recent announcement by the province, President of Wilfrid Laurier University Deborah MacLatchy made an announcement about the upcoming academic year.
“The accelerating vaccine rollout in Canada promises us a return to some normalcy in the coming months…. leaders across Laurier have begun preparing for a gradual, phased and safe return to in-person activities on our campuses for Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 terms,” said MacLatchy.
This was the sunshine needed to break through the clouds and students accepted the statement with enthusiasm.
“I was initially really excited when I heard…. I’m going into my last year and want to develop a routine and spend it on campus with my peers,” said Paula Baran, third-year social work student.
This was echoed with another student as well.
“I am especially excited to see everyone on all the different committees again,” said Eric Sanderson, third-year criminology student.
This announcement was of course just an introduction and Fall 2021 is still in the initial planning stages.
“The process of returning to our campuses requires comprehensive planning and collaboration, with the overarching goal of providing a safe teaching and learning environment for our Laurier community,” said Anthony Vannelli, who is appointed provost and Vice President: Academic at Laurier.
The university plans to make another announcement later on.
“We look forward to providing further details in April and in the lead-up to fall,” said Vannelli.
One of the biggest factors to the return of in-person learning is vaccines and students have a variety of thoughts on vaccinations for Laurier. Annalise Foote, a second year Digital Media and Journalism student was surprised to hear about the announcement for Fall 2021.
“I absolutely think students should be vaccinated if that is the plan…. otherwise, the campus would become a breeding ground for COVID-19,” said Foote.
Other students agree with Foote.
“It is a personal choice for each student, but it will definitely help reduce the spread,” said Baran.
The daydreams have begun as students wrap up this semester. For some it is about their favourite places to eat on campus.
“I am excited to grab a cookie from Lonnie’s before class,” said Baran.
For others it is the hope of going back to normal with the opportunities on campus.
“I am most excited for hopefully an in-person O-week,” said Sanderson.
For most it is the fact that they may get to see others in person rather than a screen.
“I want to connect with other students and professors again and get back into that social environment,” said Foote.