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College Campus in A Pandemic Norwood residents are ready to learn

Aug 27, 2020 01:01PM ● By Kara Nicole

With the COVID-19 pandemic still at the forefront of many citizen’s minds and the school year fast approaching, students everywhere are going to be learning in new ways. 

Jake Mannering, a recent Norwood High graduate and an incoming freshman at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), explained what his college experience will look like this fall. 

“As of right now, UNH is doing a hybrid based plan,” Mannering said. ‘This means that I’m taking four classes in total, and two of them will be online while two will be in person.” 

This hybrid style plan is becoming popular for many colleges and universities. The idea behind the plan being that it will keep the amount of students in classrooms from getting too large, but also allows students to learn in person rather than solely online. 

“They have restricted where we can go on campus with our ID cards and we can only get into our own residence halls,” Mannering said. “I’m excited to start college but it has definitely been overwhelming, especially because schools have been constantly changing their plans.”

This ambiguity has been very stressful as students prepare to enter or return to campus. Some  undergraduate's learned of their school’s pandemic plans with only weeks to prepare. 

Marisa Silk another Norwood graduate will start Stonehill College this year. 

“I learned that my school would be allowing students to live on campus, and they sent out a plan to ensure social distancing was adhered to while moving in,” Silk said. “Everyone received a specific time slot on a particular date to move in. This allowed everyone to transport their stuff in without being surrounded by other people.”

Silk’s school will be observing a hyflux program for classes. This means that some days class will be in person and other days it will be online; depending on the day and class size. 

“Although it is probably not like a ‘real’ first-year college experience, I’m very excited to be able to go to campus and meet everyone” Silk said. 

Even Norwood residents who have been attending their college for a few years are preparing for the new way of learning. 

Westfield State University junior Grace Gillis described her mixed feelings about returning to campus.

“Although I'm nervous about going back with so many people, I'm hopeful that they will stay on top of the Covid tests to ensure that we all stay safe in all enclosed spaces,” Gillis said. “I work at school as well and I'm not sure I would be going back if it weren't for work, so I'm staying positive that they take the proper steps to make sure that we all remain healthy!” 

With the health of everyone a top priority-, schools are opening, but it is not guaranteed they will stay that way. 

“I’m excited to start classes, but at the same time I’m not getting my hopes up for staying long as schools are constantly changing their plans,” Mannering said. “The past few months have just been a lot of planning and what/if scenarios.” 

Kaylin Reen a Junior at Roger Williams University, is also anticipating changes, but looking forward to returning to Rhode Island.

“I’m excited to go back this semester!” Reen said. “Although I know things are going to be different and we may not be promised a full semester as things change quickly, I am looking forward to having the best semester possible.”

With the vagueness and uncertainty surrounding the start of the school year, no one truly knows if all the planning will work. This is unchartered territory for all. But at least students from Norwood seem to be keeping a level of hope alive that although things will be different they are equipped and ready to make the best of the situation. 

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