Coppin State University student Tyrek Goy attends an online class at his home in Frederick, Maryland September 30. (Courtesy Photo)

By Jared Grizzle
Special to the AFRO

Sitting at home, worlds away from peers and instructors is not the way most students hoped they would be starting the fall semester. For 22-year-old Coppin State University student Tyrek Goy his mindset approaching the Fall 2020 semester was no different.  Goy is a senior criminal justice major and track and field athlete. 

Along with being a full-time college student, Goy is a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. He missed the Fall 2019 semester to complete basic training. The spring semester of 2020 was his first time back on campus in almost a year. Disappointment awaited him when the university decided to send everyone home in March to protect students from Covid-19. Like most students, Goy thought the sudden change to online learning would just be temporary. 

“Personally, I thought this was going to be a quick two weeks, maybe a month. I didn’t expect it to blow up to what it is right now,” Goy said. 

Even with the challenges of the pandemic, Goy doesn’t let problems stop him from getting things done. 

“No matter how difficult things get Tyrek will see himself through whatever obstacles he’s going through,” said Hassan Coulibally, 20, a longtime friend.”

This semester, Coppin elected to offer a mix of in-person and virtual classes. Goy decided to stay at home this term, “to avoid any risky situations.” The decision to remain at home has come with some challenges however, according to Goy. 

Experts says for some students, time management and staying focused in the online environment can be difficult. 

“It’s easy to get distracted when not in a classroom environment,” Goy said. “I do believe that I’m learning stuff, but not to the extent that I should be.” 

This semester Goy will be missing both the Cross Country and Indoor Track season. “We’re technically in season, even though we are not competing,” Goy explained. He is trying to fill up the time by taking a heavier course load of 18 credits to get ahead academically. 

As the weeks go by, his initial fears of contracting the virus on campus are fading. Goy is already making plans to get back on campus next semester based on what he is sees Coppin is doing.

In an August 2020 Covid-19 update letter to the community, Coppin State President Anthony Jenkins said, “Testing will be required, throughout the semester, on a monthly basis.” According to the latest update posted on Coppin’s website Oct 12, Jenkins said, “As of October 12, 2020, we have 0 confirmed, currently active positive campus cases of COVID-19.”

Some students see these developments as positive news when compared to what is going on around the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “During August 2–September 5, weekly incidence of COVID-19 among persons aged 18–22 years rose by 55.1 percent nationally.”

Goy remains hopeful.

“Our university is doing a great job with everything the CDC is recommending to help slow the spread of Covid-19.” 

Jared Grizzle is a strategic communications major in the School of Global Journalism & Communication at Morgan State University.