Some students depend on the structure of in-person classes
Low-income students, international students and students in dangerous situations depend on the relative safety and structure of the school for living accommodations and support.
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Students need the structure of in-person classes and studying on campus helps them stay on top of their studies. Organizations like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) have stressed the benefits and importance of in-person learning coupled with studying in a campus environment. Research indicates that students learn best when they are with their teachers in classroom settings. Students with mental health issues need the balanced structure, consistency, and sense of community provided by the campus setting and in-person classes and tutorials. Many low-income college students cannot attend lectures and study from home because they don't have the necessary resources to do so. Many don't have laptops of their own and are accustomed to using computers in the libraries on campus to engage with their study materials. Not having access to fast computers and broadband is a serious problem for many low-income students. Underprivileged students need campuses open to study properly and succeed in their classes. Campus closures have stunted the educational development and intellectual growth of many underprivileged students. Most low-income and first-generation college students depend on their campus for face-to-face learning support, housing, and food-security. Expert education groups argue that returning underprivileged students to campus is absolutely critical if they are to make it to graduation.
Certain racial groups are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. Since they live in heavily-populated localities and have multigenerational families, black and brown communities have been terribly impacted by the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native people and non-Hispanic Black people have the highest hospitalization rates for COVID-19. So bringing underprivileged students back to campus could be very dangerous. Colleges and universities should be proactive in providing low-income students with the resources they need to succeed. Most colleges and universities are making their students pay full tuition despite moving everything online, so they should be ready to send laptops and other tools to students who need them. Having students return to campus is too risky. Universities and colleges should explore alternative methods of guaranteeing at-risk students have the resources they need to succeed.
Rejecting the premises