COVID’s Effect on American Colleges

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Christina Blake

It is no secret that this worldwide pandemic has caused many academic institutions to rethink their method of teaching for the fall semester. American colleges and universities have been a major focus in the media due to the rapid spread of cases in the United States where American Universities, ranging from 5 000 to 50 000 students, are struggling to find an adequate and safe balance for the upcoming semester. How will they respect social distancing guidelines? How will dorm rooms and residences on campus function?

Public areas such as the dining hall, the laundromat, the kitchens, and communal bathrooms are high traffic areas that all student residents use. Many universities and colleges have been respecting social distancing guidelines and have entirely shifted to online learning while other academic institutions, such as Harvard, Princeton, and Georgetown are doing mostly online learning while still having a few classes on campus.

Furthermore, the four main concerns arising from COVID-19 that are most common amongst parents, students, and faculty are academics, college dorms, student life, and health and wellness.

Many students are concerned that online learning may not be the best fit for them while others are concerned that virtual learning may kill all student activities and college social events that many sororities, fraternities, sports teams, and clubs usually participate in. Moreover, many college students are not respecting the health and safety regulations put in place by the CDC despite their colleges reinforcing these rules. Parties of over 100 people are being thrown and held both on and off campus. Students are forced to decide between reporting these parties to campus authorities or being loyal to their friends. As for international students, remote learning for them may mean attending an American college right from their home country.

Overall, the typical American college experience that one usually imagines may change drastically in the upcoming weeks and months. Academic institutions are learning more and more that in-person learning may not be absolutely necessary. Certain schools might decide to fully become online schooling institutions.

The Coronavirus is leading the entire world in various directions; the way the world and its population react to it will determine these institutions’ best courses of action.

Originally Published on Vol.50 Issue 01 on September 9th, 2020

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