Coronavirus and higher education

Angela Machado, Social Media Specialist

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the United States in March 2020, almost every aspect of life has been affected in one way or another. A major part of life in the United States is college, which means it could not continue in the way it had been for hundreds of years. From dorm life, to dining halls, to the admissions process, colleges and universities in the United States and all over the world, have been forced to change almost everything about themselves in order to protect their students and staff from Covid-19.

Admission processes vary from college to college, but most colleges have  one rule that is universal since Covid outbreaks — Test Optional Policy. When a school claims to be ‘test optional’, they mean to say that it is no longer necessary to submit your SAT or ACT scores when applying for admission. This means that if you wanted to submit your test scores you still could, but you will not be penalized if you decide to not submit any standardized test scores. The main reason for this sudden shift in an age-old policy, is that for the Class of 2021, it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to take the SAT. Most testing centers have closed for testing through the rest of the year, meaning that even if they were open again for the March SAT, it would be too late for the Class of 2021 to even take it for the purpose of college applications. Most colleges have been pretty understanding about this issue, and have helped out students applying.  

Even after you get into college this year, another problem presents itself: Online vs. Traditional. Colleges traditionally have dorm rooms where most of their students live during the academic year. With students in such close proximity to each other, there is definitely a Covid outbreak possible, and likely. Although there are precautions to help prevent a Covid breakout, it would be pretty much impossible for students to constantly wear their masks in their dorms. Not to mention dining halls and communal showers, where students would have to take their masks off. With college students being in quarantine recently with little to no real life social interaction, especially with people their own age, there is bound to be partying and socialization at a higher level than anything we have ever seen before. Fraternities and sororities, sports teams, and clubs, would most likely try to return as normal, which provides us with the issue of monitoring all students on campus, which would be too hard for campus staff to handle without any mistakes.

Until college life can return to normal, it is probably the smartest decision to remain online and safe, instead of returning to campus to cause a large breakout of Covid, which in turn would cause the days of quarantine, face masks, and six feet apart to last even longer than it has to.