Attending university in the U.S. during a pandemic

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    What’s it like to go to college/university during a pandemic?

    When Covid-19 initially traveled to the U.S. in March, all institutions decided to shut down their in-person classes temporarily, but sooner or later transitioned to remote instruction. After everyone was sent home, most institutions eventually had to pay students back in tuition and board fees for their leftover semester on campus.  At first, it was difficult for everyone to adapt to this new lifestyle, but now it was forced to become the new normal. The drastic change from the virus forced students to be patient with the process of continuing the rest of the semester online, and caused a lot of understanding among faculty all over the country. 

    After a few months of isolation the situation seemed to be a never ending period of solitude, in hopes of social human interaction again. The subtle transition from quarantine and summer was slow but not permanent. To prevent students from getting behind in education, colleges and universities decided to reopen but there are many precautions that are set in place to allow safe instruction. 

    How are college/universities adapting in the US?

    Overall, the year 2020 has been very challenging for everyone; however, it hasn’t stopped many from chasing their goals and dreams. The pandemic hasn’t necessarily prevented students and institutions from learning, but rather has caused them to adapt in new ways. To meet demands from the government, universities are currently advancing their technology and providing the necessary resources to students such as; Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, and many more online web chats that allow professors to connect with their students. Most of the institutions are providing fall term courses online, in order to safely continue instruction. Some universities are even doing hybrid courses, for labs and studios that cannot be taught in a virtual setting. Since there is still on campus housing available at schools, a lot of them have canceled on campus events and switched to virtual. This decision was made so that there is not too much cluster on campus, and it makes the students living on campus feel more comfortable & non exposed to outsiders off campus. Although a lot of the older students are attending more hybrid classes due to smaller class ranges, there are serious precautions and policies being implemented when on campus. 

    For example, Amanda, a current MBA student at John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH has shared that she will be taking all her graduate courses online this semester. According to her, most graduate students are taking all online courses now to fulfill their degree; however, they were given the option to take in-person classes after Thanksgiving break. There are still safe activities being held on John Carroll’s campus following all the Covid-19 protocols to welcome their new students. 

    How to be safe and what’s everyone’s responsibility?

    Overall, all the universities in the U.S. have implemented new normal protocols and are planning to move forward with a positive mindset for the semester. The institutions have been following the governor’s orders in being cautious about everyone’s health. Some examples of implementation for safety on campus include mandatory masks, maintaining six feet of social distance from others, sanitation stations and temperature checking within campus facilities. Every university has their own safety experience for campus, but being able to limit students on campus has helped many universities stay sanitized and clean. One example of a policy implementation would be Kent State’s, “Safe Seven”, a list of rules that makes sure students are following strict guidelines while on campus (Kent State’s Safety Principles). While colleges and universities are putting so much effort into keeping everyone safe and healthy. It’s also the students’ responsibility to not hold any gatherings of more than 50 people even in a college setting environment. If all rules are followed and regulated, it will help reduce the increasing cases of Covid-19 and maybe life will be semi normal again!

    Hope everyone is staying safe & healthy!

    “Kent State’s Safety Principles.” Kent State University, www.kent.edu/coronavirus/flashes-safe-seven. 

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