Students from East Palestine region weigh in on returning home for spring break

City sign for East Palestine, Ohio

Macey Austin

City sign for East Palestine, Ohio

Blake Pierce, Reporter

As the BGSU campus is set to close for spring break, some students from East Palestine, Ohio will be returning home for the first time since the train derailment that caused evacuations and health hazards for the community. 

Residents who evacuated were allowed to return to their homes. However, environmental groups and residents have raised concerns about the possible long-term health effects. 

BGSU School of Media and Communication student, Savannah Sheely says a return to her hometown could pose some potential risks.

“I will be returning home over spring break and live only 10 minutes from where the derailment happened,” Sheely said. “I am extremely concerned with my own health as well as my family, pets and friends in light of the incident.”

Others, such as BGSU College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering student Claire Gerber, who lives in Stark County, near East Palestine, say they are not concerned about returning home for the extended break.

“I was originally nervous about going home for spring break,” she said. “I’ve been talking with my parents and the stuff I read isn’t affecting them or the people in my area, so I am fine with going home.”

As health concerns from the incident increased, community members raised concerns if BGSU students worried for their health would be allowed to remain on campus.

Students who did not feel comfortable enough to return home during the break were allowed to remain on campus at no additional charge by filing an application with the BGSU Office of Residence Life.

It is the objective of The Office of Residence Life to give all on-campus residents access to safe and comfortable housing. Our housing process, especially in times like these, gives students the ability to advocate for housing support if needed,” BGSU Office of Residence Life responded.

Students that intended to remain on campus for the break were to apply for housing support by Feb. 24.

Residence halls will close at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 4, and students are welcomed to return Sunday, March 12, beginning at noon.