Campus life looks anything but ordinary as students settle into their colleges and universities this semester. Social distancing measures, COVID-19 testing, and flex-hybrid classrooms will become routine with time, but many students are still becoming accustomed to this new normal.
1. Campus Looks a Little Different
In order to follow appropriate social distancing guidelines, campus spaces, like the library, dining hall, and residence halls, look different. At Champlain, these popular locations are remaining open, but will run with modifications such as offering meals to go in the dining hall and quarantining library materials in the Miller Information Commons. While the reorganization of campus operations might seem a bit intimidating at first, these precautions allow students to occupy many of their usual spaces with less worry. By following social distancing guidelines and directions posted around campus, every student can help stop the spread of the virus in their community.
2. Holding Each Other Accountable to Follow the Champlain Community Health Pledge
It is likely that there will come a time when you witness someone not following social distancing guidelines, or someone’s mask slips below their nose, and it will be your community responsibility to step up and say something to protect yourself and others. While your approach will look different depending on the situation, it is important to always remember to be respectful and kind. De-escalating the situation and ensuring the safety of yourself and others should be your priority. For more tips on how to take responsibility for the health of your community, check out our “Epidemic Etiquette: Being a Good Citizen in a College Community” article.
3. Regular Testing Being the New Norm
For on-campus students, regular COVID-19 testing has been a major adjustment. Many colleges are opting for mandatory student testing, including Champlain College. Starting with a “Day Zero” test within 48 hours of arrival, Champlain students have been put on a weekly testing schedule. The college is conducting PCR tests, which collect a swab from the lower nasal cavity. The method is much less invasive than the upper nasal cavity swabs used in other tests, and is paired with daily health screening questions to keep a check on the health and safety of everyone on campus.
4. The Social Scene is Socially Distanced
To the average student, going back to campus typically means getting together with friends and enjoying the day and nightlife college towns have to offer. Although pre-pandemic activities like concerts and parties won’t be safe for the 2020–2021 school year, there are many other options for keeping social. Outdoor experiences, Netflix watch parties, and other low-risk activities make it possible for college students to maintain a social life while still remaining cautious.
5. Learning is Still a Priority
Learning may happen differently this fall, but it will still happen! In fact, you may learn more than you ever have before. Besides your in-class work, you’ll also get to figure out how to navigate a whole new world during your time on campus. The process of moving in, starting classes in a new way, and learning to take care of yourself in the midst of a pandemic is sure to foster independence and perseverance in both first years and upperclassmen alike. The unique circumstances of today’s world are sure to challenge you, but learning to overcome them can provide an unforgettable educational experience.
To learn more about how Champlain College is handling COVID-19, please visit our FAQs.