COVID-19 has caused colleges to change they way that they operate this fall. Here are six changes that college students may notice at their schools this fall as a result of COVID-19.
1. Mask Mandates
Almost every college’s reopening plan for this fall includes a mask mandate. In fact, many colleges are providing masks and “COVID kits” which include masks, a thermometer, and other supplies. Although a hygiene kit isn’t what we traditionally expect as a “back to school treat,” it’s a thoughtful gesture. Personally, my college is providing “COVID kits” as well as a set of masks for students and staff to utilize during their fall semester on campus and in the community.
2. Required COVID-19 Testing
Move-in checklists look a little different this fall. Many schools now require that students present negative COVID-19 test results to the school prior to moving on campus. Furthermore, some colleges are even testing students at random and dedicating sections of campus housing to “quarantine living” for symptomatic students.
3. Mix of Online, In-Person, and Hybrid Classes
Many colleges have made the decision to halt all in-person classes for the entire fall semester. Alternatively, some universities chose hybrid classes, where students attend in-person lectures once or twice each week, then complete the remaining coursework online. Of course, some colleges — like mine — decided to make some majors completely online but allow students with lab or clinical requirements to meet on campus. While online coursework feels very different from traditional college lectures, these changes will help keep students safe and still ensure that everyone can still graduate on time.
4. Virtual Clubs and Student Organizations
Since social distancing prevents large gatherings from occurring, many student organizations can no longer hold regular meetings and events this semester. While this puts a serious damper on Greek Life and other college clubs and activities, some organizations are still finding ways to connect virtually this semester.
5. Limited Food Options
For students returning to campus this semester, food options may look very limited. For example, my college is reducing dining area seating and only serving “grab-and-go” options. This will make dinner with friends difficult, and it may also limit options for students with dietary restrictions.
6. The Overall Social Experience
As a result of the changes college campuses made due to the ever-changing government-mandated COVID-19 guidelines, the social aspects of college will look different. Many larger schools aren’t offering sports, and smaller schools won’t have in-person club meetings or intramural sports.
Students taking remote classes will feel the impacts the most, though, because they can’t even see their classmates in person. While college is largely about furthering your education, the social aspect of college is a huge reason why students move away for school, so this semester will definitely feel less exciting than normal.
For many students, college definitely looks different this semester, but we can make the best of it. How is your college handling the fall semester in light of COVID-19? Comment below!