The first week of school, while COVID-19 is still an active pandemic, is unusual. From the arrows pointing at which hallways you can and can’t walk down to the 4 person limit in elevators, everything is slightly off from what it used to be. With students returning to campus, Pace University is taking every precaution they can to make sure that we all are staying safe. The cafe has a new system, in partnership with Grubhub, where you can order your meal ahead of time and pick it up, either in the cafe or on the garden level downstairs. It is extremely convenient for when you want to grab something quick to go back to your dorm for Zoom university. Other safety precautions they are taking include limiting the capacity of students everywhere from classrooms, the cafe, and common areas on campus, that are usually stuffed to the brim. Over the summer, the University staff took the time to label all the seats and areas where you can and cannot sit, with green circles and red crosses, and taking out the extra seating across campus. Pace has also changed how the elevator system works by giving it a capacity of 4 people and self-cleaning buttons.
As for the classes, they are being taught online, in-person, and hybrid, a mix of both in-person and online. Hybrid classes are something that both students and professors are getting used to, from how to get on to Zoom to how many people can be in the room. The professors have to teach from behind plexiglass walls to increase a safe distance from the students. Rooms have safety capacities of 6 people, including the professor, which could be very awkward if the 2 other people in the class decided not to go. Remember to be patient with your professors, most of them are old and it’s their first time using Zoom.
Dorming is completely different this year. When you enter any building on campus, you have to show security the COVID-19 Self Assessment, which you have to fill out every day to make sure that you are healthy. Following social distancing, guests are prohibited, and you cannot go to other dorm rooms. If you are seen going to other dorms or let someone in your dorm, you both will be removed from housing. That may sound harsh, but Pace is doing this to enforce health and safety guides to make sure people are taking social distancing seriously. Every public room on campus has a capacity of 2-4 people for kitchens, laundry rooms, and lounges.
As an upperclassman at Pace, you are used to how things were in the past years, from short cuts to get to class and what times to go to the cafe for minimal lines. But with all the new safety precautions in place, it’s a whole new Pace that you have to relearn. However, if we all continue to follow all the safety precautions put in place, and do not do anything to increase the spread of COVID, then by next year, hopefully, it should all be back to normal. So strap those masks on and keep hand sanitizer close, and we will get through this together.