As ISU welcomes a new semester, students are experiencing a number of concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic rising in cases, another semester with juggling hybrid classes, and an entire semester without a spring break. Mike Licari, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, stated in a message to all students on the first day of classes that, “Our protocols on campus this past fall worked well to keep the Sycamore family safe, and they remain in place for the spring semester. There is light at the end of the tunnel, as more and more are vaccinated in the community every day. This good news, though, does not mean we can relax our precautions.” and thanks students and faculty for “[their] help in reducing the spread of the virus. The better we contain it, the quicker we will all get back to normal. And I know I’m not alone in looking forward to that. Good luck and best wishes for a great spring semester.”

With other colleges such as Ivy Tech being completely online for at least the first two weeks of the semester, and Ball State requiring everyone to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus, many students are expressing concern for how ISU is approaching the spring semester. “Regarding spring break, I think it is going to negatively impact the mental health of students, which will more than likely impact our grades. At the same time I understand that having a spring break means people possibly bringing back COVID-19 to campus and obviously that’s irresponsible” says Kaylei Knight, a student at ISU.

After handling a very experimental semester with e-learning platforms such as Zoom, students and professors have shared their experiences with “Zoom fatigue,”, resulting from sitting at a screen for extensive hours with somewhat of the same social expectation of an in-person classroom. With some classes being taught in “hybrid form”, a mixture of e-learning and in-person learning, and in-person classes frequently separated into cohorts for different days of the week, more and more students seem overwhelmed, confused, and feel like they just can’t keep up. “Personally I don’t think hybrid classes are helpful to the professors or students, they are unnecessarily convoluted” says Knight. “I think the safest thing we could do for students and faculty is to put all classes online if possible.”