Virus changes campus


Abby EpsteinNews Editor

Wearing masks, online classes and disinfectant wipes were changes made due to COVID-19 but are starting to become the new norm. 

“Safety issues, delivery of classes and the day-to- day interactions on campus have been the three major changes on campus,” said President Joe Bertolino. 

A few safety precautions that have been put in place are: students and faculty being required to wear a mask on campus, the number of students in classes being reduced and having students wipe down their work area when they enter a class.  

The residence halls have also been taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of their residents.  

“One of the major changes is you have to wear a mask everywhere, the only place a mask doesn’t have to be worn is in your dorm room,” said Resident Advisor Lily McCarthy, a junior. 

All dorms require residents to wear masks, except for in their room, only two people are allowed in the elevator, and guests must be students who live on campus.  

“Right now, it is all about masks and social distancing,” said Resident Advisor Abdel Ben-Toukour a junior.  

McCarthy works in Brownell Hall, where they have changed the traffic pattern of students coming in and out of the building.  

“There is one-way traffic through the doors, so the entrance in the parking lot is the way in and the exit by the stairs is the way out,” said McCarthy. 

Ben-Toukour works in Chase Hall, which has community bathrooms. According to Ben-Toukour the custodians have been sanitizing and cleaning every day in addition to sanitizing the hallways.  

Not only are there new protocols the residents must follow but there are also some directed at the RA’s

“Usually at the desk there is usually a DA [desk attendant] and an RA sitting together but now the DA can sit at the desk and then the RA has to remain in the back office or somewhere they can remain six feet apart,” said Ben-Toukour.

Students have been having to adapt to the new rules and regulations in the residence halls and around campus.  

“All of the safety protocols have certainly had an impact on life on campus and the experience,” said Bertolino.  

Following and learning all the new safety protocols are taking students and faculty time to get used to.

“The biggest adjustment has been all the new protocols we’re doing, which are obviously to keep people safe, so we’re not upset with them, but are just trying to adjust and adapt to them,” said education major Ariana Taylor, a sophomore.  

Most classes were in person until COVID-19 hit, which changed the format of how professors taught with most classes this fall being online.  

“The faculty and staff have done amazing work throughout the course of the spring and summer and I think folks have really adjusted well,” said Bertolino.  

With having classes online, not as many students need to come to campus. According to Bertolino, the residence hall capacity went from 2,500 to 1,500.

The university is hoping no more changes will have to be made, but Bertolino said if the university suddenly needs to go online, it is prepared to do so.

“I feel like being in the school we are in, they really are trying with all these regulations to keep us safe and we have the people here to enforce that,” said Taylor.

The main goal of the university is to keep the students and faculty safe, in hopes of staying on campus until Thanksgiving.  

“All I’m asking folks to do is to follow the rules and we’re going to do our best and my hope is that we’ll get through this,” said Bertolino. “I’m really proud of this community.”  

Photo credit: Abby Epstein

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