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How I Feel About the Way Colleges are Handling COVID-19 and Reopening in New York State

As a student who is at home doing remote classes this semester, I wonder why colleges would even attempt to send kids back. There’s a chance there could be an outbreak and they probably know that not all students will follow the rules and guidelines, so why send students back? Although there are some preventative measures put into place, there are a lot of downfalls and uncertainties that go along with it. Here are some of the good and bad things I have come up with that I think colleges are doing during the pandemic.

The Good

Rules: Every college that I have heard about has some sort of rule system in place for the students and staff to follow.

Contracts: Colleges are having students sign contracts saying that they will abide by the rules the campus has put in place.

Outdoor Classes: This offers students a place to attend class while social distancing measures are still in place

Outdoor Dining: Eating outside offers students to social distance and still eat with one another without being sandwiched in a small dining hall.

Virtual Activities: Most of the activities campuses have are not in compliance with the social distancing rules - moving the events online offers students the chance to still be involved in activities while staying safe

The Bad

Expecting Kids to Follow Rules: Let’s face it: College kids are exactly that, COLLEGE KIDS. How can colleges expect students to not want to have that “college experience,” especially if this is their Freshman or Senior year. The kids that wanted to be on campus in the first place most likely wanted to be around friends, go to parties and hang out at the local attractions in town.

Air Filtration Systems: This one is iffy - while these air filtrations systems were mandated for places to have to reopen, the system is not really effective. Not all of the particles the filters are supposed to trap get trapped

Student and Staff Testing: Although campuses may be doing testing, they are heavily relying on the students and staff to self report. What about all of the people who think COVID is not real or that they will not get it? What about the ones who lie on the self report? What about the people that are asymptomatic and do not present symptoms? 

Not Being Accommodating: I noticed when I was looking at classes that were online that not too too many were offered. What if next semester, there’s no vaccine and I still don’t feel comfortable going back? What then? I will be a last semester Senior and have FOUR classes left to take (I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THAT!!!). If the college is not accommodating, will I be able to graduate? Will I be forced (kind of against my own will) to actually go to campus and take some classes? I can’t see where they could do this, but it seems like they already have in some cases. There's a lot of unknowns, especially for Seniors.

Off Campus Outings: Many students continue to go off campus and do things - exposing themselves and the rest of the campus to the virus when they come back. Although you can't expect everyone to stay on campus all the time, it still is putting the campus at risk. 

How close is cutting it too close? Does a college really put their financial needs before the health of all of their attendees and staff? If there are so many unanswered questions, why have students come back to campus at all? When a college knows there’s even the slightest possibility of someone contracting the disease, why take the risk?

Personally, I didn't want to go back. There was too much risk involved and all my classes were able to be done online (this saved me sooooo much money tbh). I am able to get as far ahead in my work as I want and not have to worry about the virus in the slightest. What are your thoughts on the matter?

[bf_image id="q8ug58-7x30d4-bvti1s"] Remember to track your symptoms and stay safe! If you even have the slightest feeling you have it - GET TESTED AND SEE A DOCTOR!

And remember...Wear. A. Mask.

Nicole Caldara is a senior at Siena College with a Psychology major, a Business minor and a Human Resource Development minor. She plans on going into the human resource sector and hopes to get an internship right after graduating, while simultaneously working on her masters degree. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching Disney movies, reading and baking. Follow her adventures on instagram @nicole_caldara!
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