Hello friends! It is fall, which makes me super happy 🙂
As we all know and are tired of, COVID is reality. We see its impact everywhere each day, and I witness it here on campus.
Thankfully, Saint Norbert College students and faculty have triumphed COVID for 7 weeks now! No one would have expected that we would make it this far on campus this fall semester, but we are! And praises for that! However, as a college campus, we have had to make several sacrifices to remain safe and present on campus. Today, I am going to share what my college experience has been like so far in regards to COVID, and without it.
This semester I love my classes! I am an Education major, and so I am required (actually gifted with the opportunity) to partake in Sophomore Block. What is this? Well, I have 4 – 9 week accelerated classes, and the remaining weeks of the semester I will be teaching in a district. Yay! I am taking Social Studies Methods, STEM Integration, Children’s Literature, and Teaching Children with Exceptionalities. What is also fun about Sophomore Block is that I have the same classmates in each of my classes due to finishing classes early and entering the teaching field midway through the semester. With this, I have become familiar with my classmates, and our Block has become like a family. We each are stressed about the same tasks and can support each other as preservice teachers. It is awesome!! 10 out of 10 would recommend it.
I am also a Resident Assistant, which is going well, and spending time with my friends to the extent that I can. This is a good transition into my COVID semester experience.
So yes, we are still on campus, and yes, there are COVID cases here. However, we have not had to shut down any buildings yet or send parts of the student population home. So far this semester, we have had 159 total reported cases. That may seem high, and it is, but that is less than 1 percent of our student population. The campus has implemented policies and guidelines to help us stay safe, and with us students doing our part, we have been able to keep the cases number low.
Saint Norbert College has policies and guidelines that would be too extensive to cover in this one blog post, but I will give you some that have impacted the student population the most.
- Masks are required everywhere except for your personal residential space. This includes walking around campus.
- When quiet hours are in progress (10-8 Sunday through Thursday and 12-8 Friday & Saturday), no guests are allowed in your residential space.
- Overnight guests are not allowed at all this semester, and no outside guests are allowed to eat with students in our cafeteria.
- When going to class, you are to sanitize your area with the cleaner and rag individually provided by the campus before you seat yourself as well as before leaving the classroom.
- You cannot have more guests than 2x the number of beds in your rooms. So, in other words, small gatherings of individuals. This helps the college with preventing the spread of COVID as well as contact tracing.
Most of my classes have been in-person, but some days my professors will decide to have us go virtual and use a class ZOOM link. Primarily, this is done so that we students are not shocked by going virtual if we are sent home mid-semester. Also, my professors will have virtual class if they are not feeling good. Additionally, for each class, the virtual classroom is always an option. If a student does not feel comfortable coming to class, they can log onto ZOOM and participate virtually. The professors always have the ZOOM screen up.
Group projects are still happening also. Instead of meeting in person, we will meet over Google Hangouts or ZOOM to work on our projects. We use Google Slides and Google Docs the most because we are able to share the document and work on them at the same time. There are times when we will be in class, but because we cannot move around the classroom, we will log onto ZOOM and work on our projects in ZOOM break-out rooms. I have not had any online exams, but I know that some of my friends have had to take their exams virtually instead of in-person because of the passing of papers from one hand to another. Each professor determines that in consideration to student comfortability.
In regards to the residential halls, I was first a bit uneasy about living with the other girls and sharing a bathroom. However, I do not feel that way any longer. At least for my floor, my girls are very responsible and respectful of the shared space, and I have not had issues with any of them not wearing their masks when they are not in their room. Having my door open is not a threat to my health, so I often have my door open so that my girls stop by and say hi. Some of them will do the same for others to come and talk with them. Dorm life is still great!
The cafeteria, and most other food sources on campus, have to-go options and pre-packaged meals. That way, if a student does not feel comfortable eating in a public space, students can take their food back to their dorms and eat there. With this option, students are not interacting with others as much as they used to, and the cafeteria is not as lively anymore. Hopefully, this only lasts for one semester.
Personally, I feel safe here on campus, and I have enjoyed my sophomore year so far despite the challenges of COVID. I am curious what next semester will look like and am hopeful!
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Also, please comment below about anything! I would like to hear your feedback and thoughts as well as how your school or work experience has been going in consideration to COVID.