Opinion: Why Students Shouldn’t Be Required to Have Their Zoom Cameras On During Class

In this pandemic era, students have grown well-acquainted with having class over Zoom; it’s become the new normal to have a class over Zoom at least twice a week to reduce the possibility of Covid infection. It’s a smart choice, and one that the university has managed to handle well, among other things. Students have gotten used to Zoom classes as they’ve gotten used to mask regulations, regular hand sanitizing, and the death of the handshake. In-person meetups, from classes to coffee to even manicures have become socially distanced affairs, encouraged to be as far away from the other as possible if it can’t be done virtually.

Most classes make it a requirement to have your Zoom camera on during class, which can be an annoyance. Most times, if you’re like me, you’re in your pajamas and don’t need to be reminded of how bad you look, let alone letting others know how bad you look. While it is a good tool to tell who is paying attention in class, most students can still pay attention (at least if they’re responsible, that is) with the camera off; they just don’t want anyone to notice that they’re wearing a messy bun and glasses that take up half their face. Is that so unreasonable? While most people aren’t dressing to the nines for Zoom classes, they aren’t really dressing up at all. Pajamas have been the usual attire for months—almost a year—and it’s become a habit hard to break, even as normalcy tries to resume to what it once was.  By not having to worry about how you look in the camera—and I worry how I look to others most of the time, as a non-confident person on the autism spectrum trying to blend in among the normal people—I find it easier to concentrate on the lecture at hand. Maybe it’s just me, but once I’m told to do something, I lose all interest in doing it, even if I was willing to do it beforehand. It’s a natural response.