Most Ohio University students staying at home amid the coronavirus pandemic do not appear to regret their decision to not return to campus.
OU currently has 24,122 students enrolled on the Athens campus, including graduate students. There are 3,196 students living in the residence halls. However, all remaining students may not be living at home because OU does not track where someone is learning when they live off campus, Carly Leatherwood, a university spokesperson, said.
Alex Deutchman, a sophomore studying criminology, was going to be alone on campus this semester after all of her friends decided to stay home. For her, it didn’t seem worth it to be in Athens, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In my opinion, I feel like you can’t be on campus and have fun while trying to be safe,” Deutchman said.
While students staying home feel better about their choice in regards to COVID-19, some still miss Athens and being on OU’s campus. Some freshmen haven’t stepped foot on campus yet, while some upperclassmen feel like their college experience is being taken away from them.
Molly Livingston, a sophomore studying English-creative writing, said she misses Athens since she hasn’t been on campus in almost a year. While she’s sad to be missing out on so much of her college experience, she’s glad to be home and stay safe.
“I do not regret my choice because I know there is not much to do in Athens at this time,” Livingston said in an email. “I know I'm not missing out on much actual activity, so it is nice to stay home and spend extra time with my parents.”
Deutchman said she made a pros and cons list before she made her decision on whether or not to return back to campus. She was nervous about getting COVID-19 if she went back to campus because she would not have been able to go home. Both of Deutchman’s parents are high risk for COVID-19, so she would have had to rely on the health care offered in Athens, which is subpar, she said.
Livingston also said staying home was the safer option. Although she was looking forward to the routine COVID-19 testing on campus to ensure whether or not she had the virus, she said she can be safer at home and, therefore, won’t need to get tested unless she feels sick.
Alex Davis, a freshman studying musical theater, was on campus for the first two weeks of Spring Semester because she thought she had an in-person class. She returned back home after she found all of her classes were moved online.
“My main reason was I saved myself $6,000, and there was really no point for me to be there,” Davis said. “Everything’s basically closed, and we can’t do very much when it’s cold outside.”
Deutchman and Livingston also said they are saving money this semester by working a job at home.
“While saving money by not living on campus, I am also able to work in my hometown as a nanny for a great family,” Livingston said in an email.
Some students at home, however, are upset about what they are seeing about Athens on social media, especially in regards to partying.
“To everyone who is going out and partying, you’re kind of ruining it for everyone else,” Deutchman said. “It’s just really disappointing to see that people who say that they love a city and our community and our Bobcat community so much do stuff like that.”