Rido via shutterstock

Cassidy Anderegg lives 1,500 miles from her school, Boston University. This fall, the junior political science major decided not to make the cross-country trek from South Dakota to the East coast, even though BU is offering some in-person classes.

“The possibility of getting sick or having to isolate and be all alone was scary,” Anderegg said.

BU’s reopening plan is known as, “Learn From Anywhere,” so Anderegg said she will be taking her classes online.

“There’s no way to replicate in-person learning and other aspects that come with campus life,” Anderegg said. “However, I do feel like I made the right decision based on other colleges that initially opened and are now closing after COVID-19 outbreaks on campus.”

Anderegg is far from a trendsetter. Even among students living much closer to college campuses that opted to reopen, many decided to stay home and take online classes for a variety of reasons.

At the University of Connecticut, 7,500 undergraduates enrolled at the Storrs campus opted to stay home, as did an additional 2,700 across the regional campuses. Across the country, 21% of current college students say they will not be attending college this fall at all, many opting to work full time instead.

“The only in-person class I had was not required by my major, and I could take it next semester so I didn’t think it was worth the money to go in person for that one class,” said Yang Li, a junior actuarial science major.

While at home, Li is able to work remotely for the UConn Library, where she would have worked had she been on campus. While she thinks the decision was safe and financially savvy, she still wishes it hadn’t come to this.

“I am kind of nervous on what to expect,” Li said. “I will miss seeing people.”

At Southern Connecticut State University, the university gave students the option to live on campus, but single dorm rooms were not guaranteed. If a student did not feel comfortable in the housing arrangement, they had the option to get their housing deposit back.

Lindsey Seo decided to stay at home for her sophomore year because she felt it was safer and it would save money on housing. At SCSU, 10% of students will be taking online classes only.

“I was upset at first because I really liked the people I met at school and I got along really well with my roommate and floormates and I wanted to go out with them more and enjoy college,” Seo said. “I do feel that I made the right decision because online learning was more beneficial for me because I was under less stress and I saved a lot of money by not living on campus.”

Seo said all of her classes will be pre-recorded so she feels that she will be able to get the in-person learning experience but on her own time.

“Since I am a nursing major, bio lectures and labs were very tough,” Seo said. “Now that everything will be pre-recorded, I can do it at my own time and take my time learning the subject and re-watch the lectures as many times as I need to.”

Reagan Woitowitz, a sophomore at UConn, never even had the option to move in. Since UConn cut the number of students living on campus in half to allow for social distancing, she wasn’t offered housing. Luckily, all of her classes were offered online anyway.

“There officially wasn’t much of a reason for me to be there — I didn’t have to go to class,” Woitowitz said. “I was a little sad that I’m not going to be able to see my friends as much and I think it’s going to be a lot harder for me to focus at home. But it’s okay.”

With a lot of free time on her hands, Woitowitz will be working at her local farmstand four days a week to stay occupied.

“And maybe just some online movie watching with my friends and more video calls,” Woitowitz said.