Colleges Combating Corona
October 2, 2020
When Coronavirus struck the nation, nobody knew what to think. Should we have been scared, in shock, sad, angry, or in love with the fact that we didn’t have to go back to school? No matter what we were feeling, the fact of the matter was that we would eventually have to adapt to a new world. A world that wore masks and stayed six feet apart.
Students make up a large group of individuals impacted by COVID-19. College students, in particular, were hit hard when the virus came along. Some students had to be quarantined on campus, while others were sent home immediately. With the inevitable return of students to campus, there were bound to be many safety precautions that universities would take in order to prevent further spread of the virus as best they could.
Purdue University, in West Lafayette, implemented the Protect Purdue Plan: a comprehensive testing and contact tracing system designed to test and trace individual students or faculty members who have been infected with COVID-19. The university also distributes wellness kits to every on-campus student. If a student is infected with COVID-19, the university also sets aside rooms for isolation and quarantine to recover without fear of infecting other students and faculty.
Cameron Felger is a sophomore at Purdue University who majors in mechanical engineering. According to Felger, there has been a lot of changes to the school because of COVID-19. He said, “The biggest change is having little to no classes in person.” He does live on campus, but they are not allowed to have more than four people in their dorms at once. Students must have masks on inside the buildings at all times. They also have to wear them outside if social distancing is not possible. Felger did say that learning, in general, has gotten harder because of online classes. They do have Webex and Zoom calls once every week, and there are available options to communicate with teachers through technology, but nothing compares to having in-class communication. The very few in-person classes they do have are coming to an end before Thanksgiving break, because they don’t want students traveling and coming back sick.
Shifting to Indiana University, located in Bloomington, it is all hands on deck in order to try to keep the school clean. IU Environmental Health and Safety has implemented a COVID-19 training program for students and staff; this program teaches individuals how to protect themselves and others from the virus. IU makes it a huge point to disinfect any item that may have been handled by someone with the virus and even somebody who doesn’t have it. The university also made it a big point to limit the amount of people using public transportation.
Riley Henson is a sophomore at Indiana University, and he is working toward an Earth Science BS with a certification in GIR/RS. According to Henson, students are not allowed to gather in groups larger than 15, and you must always have your mask on inside. Also, similar to Felger, they must even wear masks outside if it is too crowded. Henson thinks one of the worst things about it all is not being able to attend in-person classes. He said, “You have to be on point and schedule yourself around covid here at IU.” Henson is staying off campus in a house with a couple of friends, and he said they are trying to enjoy the year as much as they can. Even with everything going on, neither schools are offering reduced tuition rates.
These are only two of the many more colleges in Indiana that have changed drastically because of this pandemic. It has not been easy for anyone, but slowly we are overcoming it. I think everyone is hoping for the day that things become normal, but some say it may never. All we can do is keep it from destroying our lives and enjoy what we do have.