Life has become extremely different in the span of just two weeks. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has had a major impact in many aspects of our lives. Whether you're at or aren’t at a college or university, the virus is threatening to noticeably disrupt everyone's life -- if it hasn't already. Campuses across the country are bracing for the impact that could be especially severe.
With the spread of this infectious disease becoming so rapid, colleges and universities have had to let go their traditions like graduation, dorm life, and in-person classes. A multitude of schools all around the country are canceling in-person classes and asking students to leave campus as a precaution to prevent the spread of the disease. A growing number of colleges and universities have already shifted their instruction to being fully conducted through virtual and online platforms.
Campus closures have disrupted higher education in ways that are nearly unprecedented. Students are scrambling to figure out where they'll go and what to do next while instructors are busy figuring out how they can adapt their courses to online instruction.
These abrupt changes have had a major impact on university life: no college tours are being done, ACT and SAT tests have been canceled, parents and students are demanding refunds for shortened semesters in the dorm, some students are even scrambling to find a place to go, and study abroad students have been left in limbo. As the coronavirus pandemic subjugates college life, it is causing a knock-on effect for admissions: High-school seniors may even find it easier to get into some schools this year.
College students are coping with more than just campus closures. Graduations have been canceled. Those majoring in performing arts have had recitals and auditions canceled. Athletes in certain sports won’t play for championships or get scouted for the pros. Aspiring nurses can’t do clinicals —hands-on, “on-the-field" portion of nursing school. Graduate students have had their research interrupted. Internships and job fairs have been called off, as have graduate school admission tests and conferences that are essential opportunities to network and connect with potential employers.
Many schools and universities are thinking of ways to help students cope through such an overwhelming time. Schools like Xavier University of Louisiana and Amherst College have taken measures to ensure that students are given a fair chance to continue their education and support them financially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amherst College said they are paying for students who need financial support to get home, and that information was released by their chief financial officer 24 hours after it was announced that students should leave the campus. Xavier University refunded students for rooming and board and they have been given the choice to choose whether or not they’d like to receive pass/fail grades or letter grades for this semester.
The transition to online has left students a bit anxious and overwhelmed.
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