The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes. For students, the most obvious one being the use of Zoom: classes, meetings and virtually anything can happen from anywhere via Zoom (especially fatigue). Class instruction over Zoom has become the common, and now obvious, alternative if in-person instruction cannot occur. However, this accessible reality renders itself problematic, a reality students at Ithaca College, and everywhere, are growing concerned about.
The changes that have occurred in the age of Zoom University have allowed us to connect and continue to learn from the comfort of our homes. Modernity is wonderful for this reason — we are smarter and globally connected humans. But what is the line we must draw when this exponential growth and never-ending connectivity starts to impede on what once was? When does our gratitude for modern technology start to wear thin?
These questions came into consideration Feb. 3 and 4, when a snowstorm brought over 10 inches of snow to Tompkins County, and the college chose to hold remote instruction and students did not receive a typical snow day. Some things need to remain unchanged, like canceling classes during snow days. Snow days give students a break, and we students certainly need a break.
By attending college during a global pandemic and confronting these impacts to our mental health daily, students’ well-being is greatly at risk. The college administration should be doing everything to mitigate such inner turmoil for students, staff and faculty while celebrating moments of normalcy, and letting snow days remain snow days is something we can do. It’s true, some students and professors prefer online instruction for varying reasons (i.e., it is health conscious and allows us to be in the comfort of our home), but ultimately the impacts of isolation and Zoom fatigue will eventually start to show. As the college is back to hosting classes fully in person, the sudden transition and shifts from online to in-person instruction feels like whiplash. If the college is upholding in-person instruction, we should continue to uphold all that comes with what was once typical and safe of in-person instruction: snow days need to stay.