MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Camden Fessler is getting ready to move in to Pioneer Hall on the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. But his move-in date has now been delayed by two weeks.
"I wasn't surprised," said Fessler, an incoming freshman from New Jersey. "I'm obviously not a fan of it because I want to go to campus and actually do classes and that kind of thing but it's the smart play for the college to do."
Monday, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents voted 8-3 to delay students moving into the dorms by two weeks and hold all undergraduate classes online for at least two weeks. This impacts the university's campuses in the Twin Cities, Rochester and Duluth.
Camden Fessler's sister, Avery Fessler, is already back on campus. The incoming junior is studying animal science at the U.
"I was supposed to have a couple labs in person. Honestly, I think as long as we can space out and wear masks, it's really pretty easy to regulate the spacing of people, the number of people in a room. That feels pretty safe. It's really the dorms, the common areas, the dining halls that I think are going to be a problem for the university," Avery Fessler said.
Melissa Rey, a first-year graduate student, said the Department of Chemistry has a similar problem if all classes end up shifting to online.
"A lot of chemistry things are so physical and so in person and so I do worry about what the long-term effects of that is going to be, especially as you get into more advanced classes. But I think we'll learn as we go," Rey said.
Rey is also a teaching assistant and said it's nice to know that at least for a little bit they won't have a massive influx of people on campus.
"I was really concerned initially in regards to decisions they were going to make but seeing how things have gone with UNC-Chapel Hill and just the overall crises that we're seeing in different campuses, I think honestly it was the best decision they could've made," Rey said.
But many students do not think they should pay full price for a different college experience.
"It's pretty much something on everyone's mind right now is we shouldn't be paying like $30,000 a year to just sit in our apartments and do online school," said Andy Knuppel, an incoming junior.
Knuppel is part of student government and said it's an issue they're taking up this semester.
During the Board of Regents meeting, Regent Darrin Rosha (who voted against the proposal) said they should consider a reduction to tuition if they go to all online classes.
Knuppel, who is majoring in economics, said all of his classes are already online for the fall semester.
"I feel like they really need to pick one way or the other of what we need to do for the rest of the year," Knuppel said. "I feel like it's kind of just delaying the inevitable until the first few kids end up in the hospital with COVID; we're going to have to go all online."
All of Camden Fessler's classes for the fall semester will be online, as well.
"My first year is probably not even going to happen because since all my classes are online, I'm not really meeting people anyway. I'm just going to be sitting in my dorm and it sucks but also there's not much we can do about it. There's a global pandemic and it's the smart play to do," Fessler said.
His final message? "Good luck to all the incoming freshman. We'll get through it together."