The number of positive COVID-19 cases is increasing day by day, so the importance of taking the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others out of harm’s way has escalated. These preliminaries have not only affected everyday working class citizens, but also students attending schools and universities.
College students’ spring semesters were cut short, leading to unexpected goodbyes and dorm move-outs. For many, the final moments of their first year experience or celebrating their last was taken away in a blink of an eye.
Most universities around the country have cancelled social gatherings, events, and even graduation commencement ceremonies. Instructions to move everything out of their dorms, return home and continue class online may not be the easiest of transitions for all students.
As those enrolled try to figure out their plans in a short amount of time and professors decipher a way to get acclimated to teaching their curriculum online, students and families have run into the issue of lacking resources. Unfortunately, homelessness and food insecurity are realities that several students face, forcing them to become reliant on school.
College can become a second home and can be the only source of safe living conditions, internet access and food servings on a consistent basis. How will students participate if computers aren’t available to them?
How can they focus if they aren’t properly fed and energized? Administration officials for these universities have provided financial aid assistance to those in need, refunds for unused meal plans while dining halls have remained open and opportunities to put in requests to stay on campus.
Families have gained financial burdens from the sudden closures of campuses, but university administrations continue to try their best to provide as much as they can while still taking the precautions to prevent the virus from spreading. The universities that students attend may be more than just hours away so providing a quick resolution and online instruction may not be the best learning method for those who aren’t from the U.S.
International students may live in countries that aren’t allowing them to return home or are affected heavily by the coronavirus outbreak. Time differences can also become a concern for some students that are required to sign in to class for attendance or participation at a scheduled time.
The opportunity to apply to stay on campus is still in effect for those whose countries are under travel bans and considered high threat. This situation doesn’t only affect students’ visa or program statuses but it can potentially become a concern for future students who want to attend school in the U.S. or return back to their university if the pandemic gets worse.
Learning difficulties of online instruction can not only become a challenge for students whose first language isn’t english, but also hands-on and visual learners. Professors have put out surveys that students are required to fill out that asks about their access to computers, wifi, and learning style.
Instructors have made themselves available to their students who can contact them through email as much as they need, but the physical barrier of explanation and hands-on comprehension can be difficult; especially for subjects and majors such as science, math, and production. Some administrations are taking this time to test out what works and see what methods they can use that will be most effective for their classes.
This has definitely caught the attention of college seniors who rely on passing grades within these last few months on the road to graduation. Numerous universities have cancelled or postponed the Class of 2020’s graduation commencement ceremonies.
For many, graduating doesn’t just mean finally getting out of school and walking across a stage. As a graduating senior myself, graduating symbolizes all the hard work we’ve put in the last four or more years.
Some may be the first in our families to graduate from a university or even attend a four year college. Classmates and peers don’t get the chance to experience their last college events as students or enjoy the festivities that were set in place for seniors specifically.
Celebrating the end of a beginning has been quickly taken away and not having that moment of recognition can feel like it was all for nothing. Students will still be able to receive their degrees in the mail, but family members will not be able to see them celebrate them.
Universities that have postponed their ceremonies have not released an estimated date when they’ve rescheduled things which can be a problem for those who live out of state or have other plans in the works that won’t allow them to attend in a few months. As administration, faculty, and students understand the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, it is unfortunate that the outbreak comes with a lot of heartbreaking losses.
We can only hope to stay positive and prepare for what the future brings one day at a time.