25 Investigates

For students returning to campus amid the pandemic, college life will ‘look a lot different this year’

BOSTON — As coronavirus surges in several parts of the country, many colleges are revising their fall plans.

While details about classes, housing, athletics and even dining are still being worked out, some local students are preparing to leave the safety of home to return to campus soon.

25 Investigates’ Ted Daniel chatted via Zoom with a group of undergrads from the Greater Boston area to find out why they are choosing to go back and get their take on campus life during COVID-19.

Ted Daniel: Did you or your parents ever say it’s not worth the money and we should wait until COVID-19 is over?

Amani Boston of Dorchester attends Southern Connecticut State University: My mom is not really big on this whole thing, like going to school during COVID. But she also understood when I came home from school, I was kind of like wanting to go back. It was my freshman year and I didn't get to finish it.

Sola Osinubi of Avon attends Loyola University: Not everybody has a home that's conducive to learning. And I think that it's really, really good that campuses are opening back up with the safety precautions that they have, because I personally am a much better learner when I'm in class.

Anthony Morales of Roslindale attends Boston University: I asked [two classmates] what their reasoning was [for taking the year off], and they were just like, ‘I’m not gonna pay like all this money to go and like, be isolated and not be able to like enjoy college life,’.

Ted Daniel: What will your on-campus situation be like?

Gina Lombard of Newton attending Oberlin College: Our plan is to de-densify campus by not having one grade on campus at a time. So like in the fall, the juniors won’t be on campus. In the spring, sophomores won’t be on campus. Everyone gets singles, and that’s kind of like how they want to ensure safety on campus.”

Jakigh Dottin of Cambridge attends Towson University: If you live in on campus, and you're in dormitory you're not gonna be able to have any visitors. So you can't have any friends, or you can have any company. You're going to be isolated.

Sola Osinubi: “We’ll have to wear a mask every single time we are in the dorm. I believe seniors and juniors will not be on campus and sophomores will be put into apartments off campus.

25 Investigates found life will be different for each student depending on the college they attend. Most colleges will test students for COVID-19. Testing strategies vary widely depending on the school. Learning will either be remote or in modified classrooms that allow for distancing.

“We’ve had a few colleges, big name colleges announced that they’re going fully online for the fall, including Harvard University,” said Abby van Geldern, a Boston-based college admissions expert with Collegewise. “I think the truth is that college as we know is going to look a lot different this year, and maybe even next year.”

According to van Geldern self-discipline and the ability to adapt to change will the keys to success in college this year.

A recent study found enrollment could be down by as much as 20% because of the pandemic.

But for those who are planning to head to campus this fall, many colleges are staggering arrival dates to limit the number of students showing up at the same time. Additionally, students living in dorms may be required to quarantine in their dorm when they first arrive.

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