Unconventional Classrooms

How COVID-19 Effects Classroom Settings at BV

Autumn McClain, co-Editor in Chief

On January 17, 2020, BVU students returned to campus amid an ongoing pandemic. The second semester of social distancing, mask-wearing, and isolation. In-person classes merely resemble what my classes were like freshman year of college. The atmosphere in the classroom at BVU is the biggest attraction at this university. Students engage, collaborate, and open their minds to new perspectives. However, it’s hard to do that when you’re sitting in a plastic chair overlooking the balcony of a basketball court. The ventilation throughout the gym is loud enough to sound like an airport, especially over zoom. BVU is bringing students back to in-person learning in the best way they know how, but it’s hard. We are all living through this for the first time, together.

I miss the days I could lean over and joke about a misspelling on the Canvas homepage. Now, we isolate our thoughts in the classroom because it is harder to express them. We know that to engage, we should shout into the microphone 20 feet away so that the zoom students can hear us. But it’s hard to do that when you didn’t have the motivation to go to class anyway. Because the night before they announced the death toll for COVID-19 worldwide has topped 2 million, and you didn’t get much sleep after that. Now you’re sitting in a plastic chair on a basketball court with a mask covering your face, eyes tired and baggy.

In the back of your mind, you fear that your loved ones might be next to join the tally of lives lost to the virus. You wonder when you’ll be able to get vaccinated. You wonder if anyone in this classroom is infected, constant paranoia. You want to hug your friends, but you hesitate. Meanwhile, a country of conservative scum drink from the same red solo cup and refuse to believe in the realities of science.

It’s hard knowing you’ve lost the college experience before it’s ended. No more social gatherings, only one guest allowed at a time. No more sporting events, only reruns on TV. On top of it all, our country is suffering. We the People are suffering, yet congress and the senate can’t agree for shit. We are suffering, but students are expected to do more work, not less. This overwhelming expectation that if you are sitting at home in quarantine, you can prove yourself worthy by not taking this time to relax, but to work even harder than before. This toxic ideology of American capitalism, Work to Live and Live to Die. The pandemic has made it clear. When landlords kicked families out onto the streets because parents lost their jobs and couldn’t make rent.  When I worked at a grocery store during the pandemic and fully grown adults threw tantrums like toddlers over wearing a mask. The privilege of ignorance.

We are privileged to have the opportunity to return to in-person learning at BVU. I feel very thankful that BVU is able to provide for students in this way. But, being forced into these unconventional classroom spaces adds more stress on students and professors. We can’t hear the professor or other students. We can’t see the information on the board from 50 feet away. We can’t learn in an environment that isn’t meant to function as a classroom, and I shouldn’t be learning Biology of Evolution on a basketball court.