By Teehan McGinness and Selin Tukel, Posted March 19th, 2021
Video by Teehan McGinness
What is your name, university, and year?
What course of action has your university chosen to take regarding COVID-19? How do you feel about this?
“Every morning we have to fill out a survey and it says if you have any of the symptoms you press yes or no, and that clears you to go on campus. We have three levels: green, yellow, and red. We were in the green phase when we first started and that means we have little to no cases and you are clear to circulate and follow protocol. As far as cases the level was low, we are in yellow right now so there is a little bit of spiking in the cases but we can still continue to go to in-person classes but take more caution. I have one in-person class, a bunch of my friends have more in-person classes. For me, I only have a couple, other than that we do zoom. When we go in person to class they have to wipe down the tables to sanitize and then you have to wear your mask at all times. We have check-in points throughout campus so you have to use your phone to check in to locate where everyone is. At the end of each class, we have to sanitize the tables as well. My teacher has a screen in front of him, like a plastic screen to keep him safe too. That is what I’ve noticed from my experience with in-person classes. For athletics, what we have had to do in phase 1 was have 10 or fewer people at practice. We had to wear masks, no contact, if we wanted to take our mask off we had to be twelve feet apart and we were outside. Now we moved into phase 2 so we have two groups with less than 20 people per group. Still no contact, still have to be 12 feet apart if you want to take your masks off, we have to check into the turf. You could only have five people lifting at a time, had to wipe down your bars, wipe down everything when you put it down. For athletics, we also had a survey to fill out if you wanted to enter any athletic facilities or go to practice. It was basically the same questions but way more, and if you didn’t fill out the surveys you would get a written warning and would have to go to a conduct hearing if you didn’t do anything. They are really restrictive which I am comfortable with. They had outside pods which were for people in athletics. They made tents and put free weights in them, only two people could be in a tent and you have to wear your mask unless you live with the person and they clean them before and after, you have to check-in and reserve them.”
Do you personally agree with this stance?
“I feel like our school is taking really good caution towards everything, as soon as the spikes went up, like when certain teams have been getting some cases, and they will completely stop practicing. If we hit the red phase we won’t be able to go to class. Teachers have been really respective, if you don’t feel comfortable going to class you can do the zoom and stay home. I feel like my school has been taking really good precautions toward everything. If anybody is not following the precautions you can report it, and you can get in trouble if you aren’t following the protocols.”
“I feel like my school has been taking really good precautions toward everything.”
What is your living situation at your university? On-campus, off-campus, staying at home? What are the safety precautions being implemented?
“I live off-campus in a house with three of my teammates. For lacrosse, we do a lot based on who we live with. For practice, we were put into groups for people you only live with.”
How has this transition impacted your educational career? (Online, limited in-person classrooms, etc.) Will this impact your track to graduation and how has using online learning changed your educational experience? How do you feel about this?
“I have labs for electrical engineering, so I have a digital systems design lab but we don’t have labs in person. You don’t get face-to-face with any of the TAs or teachers, you can go to office hours, and obviously, you are on zoom, it’s definitely harder. I had a circuits lab last semester and they cut out the hardware potion completely, so I missed a lot of the stuff I should have learned. For electrical engineering, a lot of the hardware potion is really crucial, and a lot of that we aren’t doing this semester either for my class. When we test our codes they do it themselves, so we don’t see it in-person being tested. I definitely feel like I’m missing out on the important aspects.“
“I definitely feel like I’m missing out on the important aspects.”
What has been the most difficult aspect of your school’s transition?
“Definitely staying motivated and going to class. It’s really easy to be like I’m just going to sleep or stay in bed’. I feel like I don’t learn as much because at homeIi get distracted or zone out because I’m on my laptop. I don’t feel like I learn efficiently that way and I definitely feel like a lot of people skip class. It’s hard to know when assignments are due also because they are not clearly told you have to search for when they are due. I know my teachers don’t say ‘You have a test tomorrow’ they will say ‘You have a test in two weeks’ and never mention it again. I definitely feel like it is less organized unless you are really on top of it.”
How has COVID-19 impacted you/your family’s financial situation?
“If you lived on campus you got a lot of your money back, but since I live off-campus I didn’t get any of my money back. I had to go home over the summer because of COVID but I still had to pay all of my rent money so I was paying $700 a month for the house that I didn’t live in. The was the law that was passed that you could pay rent late and didn’t have to pay the late fees, but it was definitely still hard that I had to pay that rent and not live there. We didn’t struggle too much, I got all of the same scholarships, and everything they didn’t lessen any of that. They have been really good about giving scholarships and financial aid.“
How has COVID-19 impacted your friendships/social life at school? Extracurriculars?
“As a team, having the freshman come on to the team we don’t really get to know them and have team bonding. I feel like they definitely feel left out of the team because we really don’t know them still. We really didn’t get to introduce ourselves. I definitely think for a lot of my close friends it’s easy for me to do homework with them or we still try to do what we can safely. People who I am not close with, I don’t see them as much. I definitely feel like it sucks not having that social aspect and being able to see my team and other teams all the time like we used to. We try to do as much team bonding as we can, but that is still hard. It’s hard in that aspect to build a relationship with your team and get to know each other and that trust when you can’t really hang out with them. We had a transfer too and we didn’t get to introduce ourselves.”
Do you see the situation at your university changing in the near future?
“I think it depends on what level we are in, if we are in green I am hoping that they will do more in-person classes. I know that a lot of students have been upset that they are missing in-person labs and getting hands-on learning. I guess it depends on the level and our increasing COVID cases. I definitely think moving forward, even if it’s green and we are good to go and we can have more in-person classes they will still offer the zoom for the people who aren’t comfortable and just to have that option for people who maybe can’t go that day because they’re sick and it’s way easier. We get random testing, I got it three times already, so we get tested every other week. Random people throughout campus get pulled and you get tested. It’s the nose swab test that you do yourself so there is no contact with anyone else. You just go in, do the nose swab, and you leave. As for athletics, you get picked even more because we are supposed to get tested more. Women’s hockey when they play, they have to get tested once a week or three times a week to be able to play.“
“It’s hard in that aspect to build a relationship.”
What would you recommend for students who are struggling to adjust to this new educational experience? Do you have any other personal stories you would like to share?
“Try to stay on top of your work, get things done early, and stay organized. That was definitely something I didn’t do, I didn’t write down when things were due. I definitely feel like even though I’m not behind I feel behind. I think getting ahead of everything would help dramatically to feel like you are on top of things and you don’t have to rush everything last minute.”