Following a hectic Fall Semester with 31% of Phase 2 students returning to campus, Ohio University invited back all undergraduate students this past week to campus for the spring.
Students who returned to residence halls, which normally serve as a great way to make new friends, are finding it hard to meet other students due to OU’s COVID-19 regulations.
Students in residence halls must adhere to COVID-19 regulations that make mask wearing mandatory in all common areas and that bars residents from having outside visitors. Custodial crews come into halls to sanitize common areas each day, and room-checks are halted for the semester.
Conner Lubinski, a sophomore studying accounting, said that in addition to the regulations in residence halls, residents just have not been as social due to the pandemic.
“I feel like people aren’t as social as they normally would be,” Lubinski said in an email. “My roommates and I are all transfer kids and we are looking to make some new friends.”
Businesses in Athens have also implemented COVID-19 protocols. In accordance with the City Council mask-mandate, customers in most restaurants and businesses are expected to wear a mask and social distance while inside. COVID-19 regulations in bars have resulted in long lines along the sidewalks of Court Street, as well.
“On campus, all of the stores and restaurants have "Six-Feet" separation stickers to enforce social distancing. Also, I've seen that a lot of students are having to wait longer to get into the bars and are standing outside in the cold because of the maximum capacity,” Dias said in an email.
Students have also been frustrated at the long lines at dining halls on campus due to COVID-19 regulations.
Though students are living on campus, most classes still remain in an online or hybrid format.
Online classes have been easier to adjust to this time, Kelsey Rohrer, a sophomore studying early childhood education, said.
“I'm not a big fan of online classes but it was easier starting up with them this semester after experiencing them for all of last semester,” Rohrer said in an email.
Professors have had to adapt to the online learning environment and have improved over the past semester, Jordan Dias, a freshman studying busniess pre-law, said.
“My professors are adapting to COVID by interacting more online and providing extra resources to complete our assignments,” Dias said in an email.
Though professors may be more prepared for online classes this semester, some students still feel as though they must be more independent in their learning. Rohrer said that she feels as though she has to teach herself in the online format.
“My professors are changing a lot of things due to covid. My biology professor had to assign us online lab simulations since we cannot meet in person,” Rohrer said in an email. “I also have a lot of classes using Top Hat which I really like and think is a super easy platform to use. But I am also forced to teach and learn a lot more things on my own.”
Even with the difficulty that online classes present, Rohrer is still happy to be able to return to campus.
“I am really glad to be on campus and I am glad OU is (doing) many covid regulations, including the weekly testing,” Rohrer said in an email.