Education gets complicated: With no library, some students have to postpone graduation

If anything is clear, all Ohioans have Covid-19 experiences.

After Your Voice Ohio conducted five online dialogues with Ohioans in which they expressed concern for unclear messaging, lack of a plan, and politics taking precedence over science in the era of Covid-19, student interns in the Collaborative News Lab @ Kent State University were asked to interview several people from various parts of the state about their experiences dealing with the pandemic.

This is the last in the series.

Among the questions were: Have you been tested? How do you engage with others who have different perspectives? Gina Butkovich, Tramaine Burton, Paige Bennett, Jenna Borthwick, Kelsey Paulus, and Madison MacArthur did the reporting. Associate professor Susan Kirkman Zake advises the staff. The program is sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation.

 

Name: Amy Achenbach

Age: 25

Hometown: Originally from Butler, PA, now Athens, OH.

Occupation: Graduate student

 

Home from the University of Akron due to the pandemic, Amy Achenbach needed the Ohio University library to be open so she could complete her master’s thesis and work on her comprehensive exams. But when the OU campus closed, she had to postpone her graduation.

 

“Most of the books and things that I read aren't classic literature that you might be able to find digitized online,” she says. “Either I didn't have access to those books and I had to do without, or I had to buy them myself through a service like Amazon.”

 

Achenbach is moving to Texas to pursue a doctorate in history at Baylor University. The university sent at-home test kits to its students through Everlywell, and Achenbach says she took a nasal swab COVID-19 test and mailed it so she could arrive on campus.

 

“It is sort of nice to know that at least everyone coming to campus has been tested. It makes me feel a little bit better, I suppose,” she says. She received her results via email and tested negative for coronavirus.

 

While Achenbach admits certain differences between her peers and family about what they think related to COVID-19 cause her frustration, her relationships with others have not changed. But Achenbach says she senses more tension in certain social settings.

 

“The church that I attend has sort of let people either wear masks or don't, and I think there's a definite tension between those that are staunchly ‘I'm going to wear a mask’ and those that are ‘You can't make me wear a mask,’” she says.

 

Looking into the future, Achenbach says she would prefer to have multiple officials disseminating information about COVID-19. She tends to browse online news sources, such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

 

“I also think it should come from our government and in other ways, so not just the independent press, but also from politicians, because I think that is part of their job to report on what's going on,” she says. “We should be on the same page as a nation, as a state, and as a community.”

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