Weighing returning to residence during the Ontario lockdown

First-year student cites increased academic productivity, wellbeing as motivation for return

The University urged students not to return to Kingston during the lockdown.

After Queen’s asked students to wait until the provincial lockdown lifts before returning to campus, some students are re-evaluating their plans for the winter term.  

Haleigh Schreyer, BHSc ’24, told The Journal that after originally planning to return to Kingston on Jan. 10, she’s decided to delay her return to campus. 

Schreyer, whose family lives in Calgary, was apprehensive about returning home for the Christmas break as the number of COVID-19 cases escalated across the country.

“Even going home was very nerve-wracking for me. I debated with my family whether I should go home with everything going on, especially with Alberta being particularly bad for cases as well,” she said. “We came to the decision that I was going to come home a week earlier than I had originally planned, and that I was going to return to Kingston on Jan. 10.” 

“When the lockdown was announced, I changed my plans to return on Jan. 24.”

Schreyer’s decision to delay her return to Kingston is in accordance with the University’s recommendation for students to wait until Jan. 23 to return to Kingston. 

READ MORE: Queen’s urges students to avoid Kingston until end of January

Following the announcement of Ontario’s lockdown, Queen’s released a statement “strongly urging” students to stay home until Jan. 23, when the lockdown was initially set to end. The University hasn’t formally extended this request, though the lockdown has been extended until Feb. 10.

Schreyer attributed her delayed return to a lack of in-person campus resources and residences urging students to not return unless necessary. 

“I felt like there was nothing to do, since the libraries and ARC wouldn’t be open and I would have to take dining hall meals back to my room to eat,” she said.

Despite waiting to return to campus, Schreyer cited her motivation for returning to campus as being beneficial for her academic performance. 

“I felt like I was really struggling my first day of the new term and was really stressed,” she said. “I definitely miss having my friends there for support my family isn’t able to offer.”

Her family, on the other hand, has expressed wishes for Schreyer to remain in Calgary for the remainder of the semester.

“My family is worried about me not being with them. If things continue to get worse, they want me to be at home so we can all go through it together as a family,” she said. 

READ MORE: COVID-19 testing centre re-opens on campus

Though Queen’s has urged students to delay their return, the University recognizes students have incentive to return. 

“We expect students to remain where they are, but we do know that some students need to be in Kingston for a variety of personal reasons and we will absolutely welcome them and support them,” Mark Erdman, Queen’s community relations manager, wrote in a statement to The Journal. 

For students who return to Kingston for the winter term, the University is working closely with local public health officials to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Kingston. 

“We continue to ensure the University’s recommendations and practices support the health and safety of our students and the broader Kingston community,” Erdman wrote. 

“Student support services and resources, such as online academic and career advising, wellness supports, librarian assistance, and online fitness programming continue to be available remotely to students wherever they are in the world. We look forward to reintroducing as many in-person services and activities as possible when it is deemed safe to do so and government regulations permit.”

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