We asked, you responded – First week back


Mitch Smith, Print Managing Editor

STATESBORO —During Georgia Southern’s first week back to school, The George-Anne created an open form that allowed students, faculty and staff to share their experiences anonymously with one another. 

We asked the campus, “Did you have any concerns or comments about your on campus experience?” and 81 people responded. Most of the responses were concerns about classes and limiting the spread of COVID.

Nine out of 81 people said they had no concerns, and 17 others used the form to voice their praise for the way things have been done thus far. That means that 55 people have used this form to voice their concerns. 

The most persistent concerns were about class. Classes changing due to COVID-19 mean that some classes that students expected to be in person are now either fully or partially online. Nineteen people expressed their fears about the future of their semester.

“I don’t consider 35 minutes in a class per week or even 35 minutes every other week and ” in – person” schedule. In addition, why is tuition the same amount nevertheless there are less resources available?”

“Zoom meetings/online presence of professor seems “clunky” and awkward. Wish there was a better way to share material live. Also, in person classes seem unnecessary if all the material is required to be posted online anyway.”

“Hi! I am concerned about how I will effectively keep multiple work, for different classes, organized by myself. Once or twice a week I may meet with my professor face to face with a few other students, but for the most part I feel like I’m on my own. Do I work on all 3 classes every day – or assign a day out of the week, for each class? How are other students staying organized at home? What is the best way to take multiple online classes, without getting confused?”

The second biggest topic of concern was concentrated on facemask and social distancing. Sixteen people decided to voice their opinions on this matter, most of which had to do with students not fully understanding the rules and reasons for social distancing combined with a fear of the virus spreading from off campus activities. 

My concern is that students don’t understand what social distancing truly means. I’ve seen a lot of people who think that they’re 6 feet apart, but they aren’t. And then on top of that, they don’t wear a mask because they think that social distancing by itself is enough to stop the spread. One example of this is that, yesterday, I watched someone take off their mask to sneeze, and a group of masked people walked right into it. These kinds of behaviors do not slow down the spread.”

“Frankly, I have too many concerns about our return to campus. I drove down Greek Street on Saturday and, if that is how seriously the rest of the student body takes Covid, we will, once again, be an online university by Labor Day.”

“No one took the 6 feet apart distance seriously when standing up in class or in the hallways. Also, what’s with the “only going up” stairs? The stairs is the least of the schools problems if people are still hugging and fist bumping on the first day of classes.”

The remaining 22 postings touched on various topics. Most of these topics had to do with concerns and changes that the University has made due to COVID-19. Students call the Georgia Southern campus a maze now, with only certain doors labeled for entering and the others for exiting. Other students had the dining commons on their mind, and some staff say they’re denied an alternative workplace.. 

“I hate that our campus is a maze. Any building you walk into, every door is labeled for just entry and just exit. There are designated stairwells that you can go up but not down and vise versa. Starting classes and finding the right rooms is hard enough without having to navigate a maze. In all honesty, it does not make sense. If we wear masks and respect social distancing why cant I go in and out the same door?”

“My principle concern is with how the dining commons is handling their services. To me, it doesn’t make sense to put meals behind a paywall for students where traditionally the Blue and Gold plans were both unlimited (now Blue = 14 meals/week and Gold = 19 meals/week). Forcing students to cough up more money in order to be allowed more meals under the guise of social distancing isn’t right. Let it be known I’m no anti-masker. But I think that these measures taken by the Dining areas are taking things too far and may negatively impact students”

“Yes, I am worried about my wife, who is disabled and high risk, catching COVID-19 and dying. The administration does not share my concern. I was also denied an alternate workplace, such as working from home and being allowed to use Zoom with a facilitator in the classroom. I myself am too healthy even though I am 62.”

The Google Form was sent in our daily newsletter and was open Monday and Tuesday of the first week back. During that time 91 responses were submitted. 71.4% of those people said they were students, 16.5% said they were staff and 12.1% said they were faculty.