Here’s What Colleges Will Look Like In 2020 Amid The Corona Virus Pandemic
While the COVID-19 outbreak continues to remain a threat in the US, colleges are starting to return back to school with new guidelines in place.
The ongoing pandemic has left colleges with tough decisions to make this Summer regarding the Fall semester. Many universities have decided to turn to virtual learning as a solution. Students across the US are now able to attend class in their homes using sites such as Webex and Zoom to replace physical classrooms. Attending virtual classes significantly reduces each student’s exposure to others but can pose certain learning challenges for students who prefer a more hands-on approach, and in-person communication.
Other schools, however, have been hard at work preparing their campus to welcome back students and resume in-person classes and reopen dorms. Each university has been setting different practices into place to ensure students’ safety, but a face mask will be required for all students participating in on-campus learning. Harvard University recently shared a post from the perspective of a student as their campus began to reopen and prepare for the fall semester.
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“It feels good. I’m excited to be here. It definitely feels like I’m missing something in a way, but it would also feel like I’d be missing something if I didn’t come.” – Lara Dada, #Harvard2024⠀ ⠀ Photo: Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer⠀ ⠀ –⠀ Members of the Harvard College Class of 2024 reflect on arriving at Harvard during the coronavirus pandemic, under much different circumstances than they had imagined.
Larger schools such as Penn State have also chosen to welcome back students and shared their plan of action to ensure the safety of their community over Instagram.
In May, a video conference was held with six participants in higher education, discussing what changes should be held in place at universities to control the virus as much as possible. The panelists gave recommendations for higher education in Connecticut that were to be used as a model for other states to follow. Officials stated governors in consultation with public-health experts should acknowledge, “gating conditions” such as ensuring COVID-19 cases are low enough to open campuses in the first place, and having enough tests on hand for students and faculty. Schools would also supply masks to those who need it, spreading out desks while seating six feet apart in classrooms, and ensuring dorm rooms are spacious enough for students to keep their distance. You can view the full version of the report to see what other practices schools across the US have adopted.
UC Berkeley recently took to Instagram as well to share what resources are available on campus to ensure their students’ health and safety during the semester, including COVID-19 testing, a pop-up food pantry, and technology loans.
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Our campus is looking a little different these days. Students have access to COVID-19 testing, a pop-up food pantry and technology loans. The student-run gardens continue to grow, campus staff are hard at work and wearing a mask is essential for all. 😷 #BearsCare See our Berkeley News story at bit.ly/BerkeleyIn30Photos. UC Berkeley photos by @irene_greenbean and @bhoseasmall #ucberkeley #backtoschool #COVID19 @bewellcal @ucb_bnc @ucbfoodpantry @berkeleystudentfarms
Many students are expecting to see COVID-19 cases begin to emerge on campus as their peers arrive, but are still speculating whether or not their colleges will be able to control the number of cases circulating amongst students and faculty.
My thoughts: “I think it’s fair to have expected a lot of cases on campus. The question is whether colleges can bring them under control through testing, tracing, and quarantining.” https://t.co/5ImVHqfFdh
— Robert Kelchen (@rkelchen) September 8, 2020
Every college has been putting its best foot forward in trying to protect the health and safety of their community. Some students have been given the option to attend online classes, while other schools have made it mandatory to be on campus. We’re hoping both virtual and in-person students and faculty remain safe regardless and continue to follow the basic guidelines set by the CDC. The uncertainty of the virus remains as we are still questioning when things will return to normal. So for now, our colleges will have to prepare for the worst, but still, hope for the best.