As the coronavirus continues to be extremely prevalent on our radar, the fall college semester sneaks up on us with many questions. Most of these questions surround the ways in which college life will change. As students and faculty prepare to return, the ways in which college life will differ will become more apparent.
Typically, orientation is focused on welcoming the new freshman to campus. This could consist of large opening meetings, group introductions/activities, and/or group outings. However, CDC guidelines encourage gatherings to be limited and/or including physical barriers. That being said, orientation will most definitely be different this fall. Freshman will likely be in small groups while also participating in online orientation.
The classroom is a place for students to discuss, connect, and learn. Unfortunately, the classroom setting will inevitably be modified. CDC guidelines recommend spacing desks at least six feat apart and maintaining physical distance with the use of barriers. Thus, students who prefer hands on learning may struggle with engagement.
Research shows that hands on learning can be extremely powerful, as it offers students the chance to be an active participant and be more engaged and comfortable. Evidently, teachers should consider this when constructing their semester plans.
As mentioned above, the classroom setting will definitely be altered. Furthermore, many colleges have chosen to fully transition to online classes. For example, Harvard, Princeton, and Georgetown have all announced that they will be going online in the fall. Again, this may prove to be difficult for many students. While some people can adapt easily, others will run into challenges such as creating a schedule, finding motivation, and maintaining optimism.
Most colleges, in an effort to maintain safety, are limiting the number of students who live on campus. While many colleges are attempting to limit the number of rooms with more than one or two students, others are making adjustments to the halls such as assigning students to specific showers and sinks. Although the resident halls are often a place where freshman can meet fellow new students and socialize, this will immensely change, with colleges following these recommendations to limit gatherings.
Many dining plans include buffet meals or self-serving buffets. Furthermore, most universities aim to have dining halls that hold the maximum number of students. CDC guidelines recommend changing dining policies; for instance, many colleges will offer grab and go options, individually served meals, or pre-packaged meals. In addition, in order to maintain space, there will be a limited number of seating options and available dining time. Finally, some colleges are expanding their dining areas through use of tents, while some utilize technology to allow students to make reservations.
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