Colleges and Corona

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Melanie Wang

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus, universities have had to adapt to the new changes and precautions to keep everyone safe. Universities stopped classes back in March to go to online school, and now colleges are facing new challenges as they try and adjust for the new school year. They want to ensure that their students feel safe because some are living on campus. 

With school starting, universities have either reduced in-person classes or have gone 100% online. Schools now have dormitory regulations and require routine COVID-19 tests. Also, students are told to be mindful of their surroundings, stay in small groups, and wash their hands frequently. They will wear facemasks, practice social distancing in classes, and spend time, if necessary, in small groups. 

On August 16, most college students began to move into campus for the new school year. So, schools began to take precautions because COVID-19 spreads through close contact. Students who are not careful with their surroundings could possibly spread or catch the virus, which could lead to universities closing.  

Colleges have adapted this year because of the pandemic; for example, some colleges have given students the choice of taking online classes from home or living on campus. At Marymount University, Belmont University, Virginia Tech, and many more colleges, the students were able to choose if they wanted to go on campus or stay home. There have been some reports of universities having clusters of students together without permission, such as University of North Carolina and Oklahoma State University. At Texas University, the football games will be at half capacity and the audience must wear masks. Colleges want to provide the most protection to their students to make them feel as safe as possibile.

The colleges’ top priority should be the student and staff safety. A survey was sent to numerous college students asking about the changes at their school, how they are feeling, and updates on the number of COVID-19 cases. Some questions included What changes have been made by your school because of corona fewer students in a class? or different time schedules, rules about dorms?”

Kelvin Paez-Morales from Marymount University said, Less students in class so the professors put us in groups and told us when we need to go to campus for class. Each group goes on a different day then one another. No commuters can be in the dorms and one guest per room.” 

We also asked, “Are there any coronavirus cases? Or has anyone been sent home?” Amani Gibbs from Belmont University responded, Not yet! A few kids were caught hanging out in a large group before the semester started and the school president told them to stay home LOL now those few students are online only!! But on my campus there are no cases!! The campuses around me( Vandy and MTSU) around me have less than 100 last time I checked.”

In the survey, we asked 54 students on a scale of 1-5 how safe they felt at school and 91% reported a 4 for their safety.  We asked David Vu from Virginia Tech (VT), “What changes have been made by your school due to the coronavirus?” David answered, “A particular change that happened to me is that I am doing a “hybrid” classroom where I’ll go into the actual classroom on one specific day of the week, and then for the rest of the week I attend the lectures online.” Universities allow students to choose from in-person classroom lessons or online, however, David is able to do both at VT. Having a hybrid classroom allows safety from others and in-person learning.