After Westminster College announced classes will remain online until June 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, out-of-state students living on campus are left with the choice to either stay or move back home.
Family members of out-of-state students are influencing the decision they make, according to Alessa Duran, a first-year psychology major from Texas.
“My dad expects me to go home,” Duran said. “He is worried the COVID-19 [pandemic] could get worse and close the borders of Texas.”
Other parents were concerned about the risk of spreading the virus.
“My mom heavily pushed for me to come home from college, and for good reason,” said Cole Porterfield, a sophomore psychology major from Montana. “My family is taking precautions as to not put ourselves or others at risk and part of that was for me to come home.”
Westminster offers the option to remain in campus housing if there is nowhere else for students to go. However, many students are moving back home.
“I am moving out of campus,” Duran said. “I think if we are doing classes online, there is no point for staying on campus and I feel more comfortable living at home.”
For other out-of-state students, it was about the risk of COVID-19.
“I chose to go home for the remainder of the semester for two main reasons,” Porterfield said. “One being that the on-campus facilities were limited and with local businesses at a halt and work not being an option for me, I did not see it being practical from a financial standpoint to stay in Salt Lake City. The other main reason why I left is due to the severity and dangers of this virus.”
Already knowing people who have contracted COVID-19, reducing his exposure and moving to a small town was the best option, according to Porterfield.
Other students said they moved back home for financial reasons.
“I am choosing to move back home to Idaho so that I am able to save some money,” said said Maggie Minshew, a sophomore theatre performance major from Idaho. “Since, as we all know, most employment has stopped for the time being.”
Out-of-state students moving home must plan for their travels while transitioning to online classes.
“I need to miss some classes because my [travel] plans get in the way [of] my school time, and this affects my grade,” Duran said.
Out-of-state students face a lot of difficulty in the move, according to Duran.
“I think it’s difficult to go through this either way,” Maggie Minshew said. “But I do think there is a little bit more added stress to those of us who are out of state, mainly because we aren’t able to be with family for however long it might be and we are still young adults trying to figure out what is happening when no one has ever experienced something like this.”