Questions, Questions, Questions: COVID19 and College
Make your best decision by asking them
It’s a moving target! What’s a new or returning college student supposed to do? With a lack of complete information about COVID19, you’re staring down the barrel of a big decision. Yet, you need to decide sooner than later!
Should I return to or begin college for the academic year 2020-2021? And, if so, what will that look like? Are classes virtual? Are they on campus? A hybrid of the two? Does a gap year make sense even though I had no inclination to do so in the first place? If I do attend school on campus, what will the living and classroom conditions look like? Will classes and extracurricular activities look different and, if so, in what ways? What about socializing- will it be from six feet away? Will I be required to wear a mask? If so, where and when? How will these different behaviors impact my friendships? Will I have to pack some different things like masks, antibacterial wipes, surface cleaner, my own stash of hoarded toilet paper, etc.? It pretty much boils down to: What conditions would be acceptable for you to attend college this fall?
Many colleges are in the process of figuring out the details and some have even made decisions regarding this fall semester. But, as with COVID19, these pronouncements are also a “moving target” as we continue to learn more about the disease. And, even though some colleges have put out their plans, you may not be comfortable with them. OR, if the conditions laid out by the school are acceptable and you decide to attend in person, there still is the possibility that you will end up being sent home and attending classes virtually. If your school is driving distance to home, this would allow you some flexibility, but what if your school isn’t within driving distance and you have to take a plane to get back home? Would you opt to do so? And, if not, would you then end up staying in California while your parents are in North Carolina! Regardless, would virtual classes be worth the money?
None of these colleges’ decisions are cut and dried. These are ever-changing and confusing times. We are learning about COVID19 while we’re in the middle of this pandemic. It’s like building a boat while we’re stranded at sea. There’s no playbook to go by for colleges and students attending them. The best you can do is to stay informed by reaching out to your school: check their website, email and call. Talk to other students. Your decision will be personal as you weigh what you think are the risks and benefits, which will look different depending on who’s doing the weighing.