Students discuss their plans for spring semester as COVID-19 cases rise across the U.S.


As the fall semester comes to a close, students are debating whether to attend in-person classes or operate remotely next semester as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Fairfax County and across the U.S., potentially putting students at high risk.

Junior Marketing major Julia Soczynksi explained that her plan for next semester is to take classes online, as she believes it would be financially effective to do so. 

The financial toll to be on campus or in Fairfax for one or two hybrid classes is not financially reasonable for me at this time. If money was a non-factor, I would consider taking a few hybrid classes,” Soczynksi said.

Soczynski said that her location has also had an impact on her decision. 

“I am an out of state student, a resident of Minnesota,” Soczynski said. “With time zones, it made it hard to take classes that had meeting times, but I hoped for as many as possible regardless of time due to my learning style.”

Soczynski said that she is not surprised by the rise of COVID-cases in Fairfax county. 

“I have noticed how self-centered people are in the United States compared to other countries. Though that is not the only reason for spread, I do think it plays a decent-sized factor,” Soczynski said. 

Soczynski hopes that college will go back to normal by fall 2021.

 “I will never take an online class once COVID-19 is over,” Soczynski said. “Not being on campus has taken a toll on my learning. We are adapting the best we can. I feel like there is a lack of consistency on the expectations of all levels of the Mason community, but I feel every school is struggling with this at the same time.”

Research assistant Jared Purcell explained that although he is graduating in December, he will be doing projects for the linguistics department.

“I will be working for the school next semester doing projects that wouldn’t require contact either way. I’m also taking a class next semester for fun, which will be online,” Purcell said. “There are no classes in my department, or college even, that are in person.”

Purcell said that he is an in-state student, so his location did not really determine whether he would be going online or in person.

“My location is not relevant in my decision next semester because classes available to me have all been online only since February,” Purcell said. “The quality of learning and interaction has been affected, but my department has done a great job making learning resources available.”

Purcell said that he believes that the rise in COVID-19 cases is due to the fact that people are not taking the guidelines to social distancing seriously.

“It was a clear consensus among the people in my community we felt obligated to take quarantine seriously. I have not been in that area since, but there has been a disconnect between people due to the stressors,” Purcell said.

Purcell explained that he thinks normalcy will return when people find value in the collective health of every individual.

 “We have been ‘tolerant’ of this normal, but it is not a healthy condition so far,” Purcell said.