More than 17 months after the pandemic forced everyone home, students returned to Frederick Community College for in-person classes on Aug. 23.
Although the reopened campus looks basically the same, the sight of masks in all indoor spaces indicated pandemic rules were still in place. Social distancing and mask policies that were implemented during Maryland’s pandemic lockdown in March 2020, remained for the estimated 6,000 students on campus for the fall 2021 semester.
Nevertheless, the scene of students eating, studying or chatting with friends in the large lounge on the Student Center’s first floor is familiar again. The Commuter staff talked to students who were hanging out at the Cougar Cafe on Aug. 25.
Some students who had been taking online classes for nearly two years because of high school were eager to return to in-person classes. Freshman art major Vincent Norris wanted to get back to in-person learning.
“Online is much worse for managing your time,” he said, “and I feel safe on campus in person.”
Madi Shively, a communications major, said was looking forward to the semester. Among the classes that she has been taking this semester, she said she enjoys her American Sign Language (ASL) and public speaking classes so far.
Compared to virtual courses, Shively said in-person classes offer “so many opportunities to meet people and that makes me feel excited.”
Freshman Maria Pittman also was pleased about her semester so far.
“I love the classes,” she said. “The professors are nice, straightforward and clear.”
Freshman psychology major Madeline Whiteside said she was most excited to experience her math class in person because “it’s hard to learn equations online.”
All of the students observed in Cougar Cafe were wearing masks, but Whiteside wondered if all of the safety protocols were being enforced.
“I don’t mind wearing a mask, but social distancing doesn’t seem to be a thing here,” she said.
— Max Wolfson, Amanda Tsai, Zoey Tsai and Charlotte Wintle contributed to this story.