Amanda Craig is a freshman at the University of Florida (UCF). The appetite for university life and scheduled class has compelled her to move into her new residence on Saturday in the Towers at Knight Plaza complex.
A coronavirus screening test is being held at the campus parking garage and is a mandatory requirement for all the students entering the campus. So, Craig will screen herself and enter UCF.
Craig said that no one can enter into the building until you get your COVID-19 test.
Craig is one of those almost 600 UCF students who will move into their dormitory on Saturday. This would be the first big wave of students entering the campus after the university was closed in mid-March due to pandemic. The first in-person fall class session is going to be conducted on 24 August.
College life can never be like before when students stepped into UCF. Dorm residents have to take appointments to move into their rooms and would be tested for coronavirus when they will arrive. The results of the tests will be released within 48 hours. During that time period, the students are expected to stay in their quarantine. Although UCF didn’t explain about it, yet Craig said that they mean that she won’t be allowed to hang out with her other three dorm mates during that period.
Two weeks ago, the Board of Trustees heard that UCF’s on-campus dorms are about 84% full. The administration has decided that the double-occupancy rooms will be converted to singles to allow appropriate social distancing to be practiced. Further, separate residential areas will be reserved for those students who would be needed to be quarantined if they tested positive.
There are several other measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the campus. These include wearing masks is mandatory within the premises of the campus. Also, about 70% of the classes in all courses will be conducted online.
The president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Lynn Pasquerella stated that the on-campus activities are going to be resumed this season, so it is the social responsibility of the students and the leaders in school to help control the spread of coronavirus in the surrounding communities, particularly in those areas which have been severely affected by COVID-19 as Florida.
Havard and Yale recently conducted research concluding that COVID-19 screening of students at the campus is recommended every two days. Pasquerella commented that such frequent testing cannot be afforded by many institutes.
UCF’s reopening was approved in June by the state government. This approval stated that the university is planning to test the students in the dorms, athletes, people in Greek houses, and those having symptoms. Still, testing all the persons arises challenges.
Although the UCF has planned to spend $4.6 million to limit the spread of coronavirus. The measures include frequent washing and cleanings, increased number of disposable face masks, and face shields. But practicing social distancing is the most difficult part. It would be difficult to control the behavior of all students residing on the campus.
Also, UCF does not have effective planning towards testing of athletics and students who do not live in its residence.
Pasquerella said that we cannot predict what will happen after reopening of the campus and what impact students will bring back to the community after going to university.
UCF is among the largest campuses in the country. It enrolled 70,000 students last year. UCF has already reported almost 451 cases of COVID-19. A recent report published by the New York Times states that the campus is leading by being at the second-highest number in terms of cases in the whole country. Although, there is no specific way of reporting cases and hundreds of schools and other institutes have did not opened about the situation of cases.
The risk of getting the disease and the new restrictions of dorm life including the social distancing and limited outside exposure has discouraged students’ fantasy of living in the dorms. Craig told us that she is from Vero Beach. Her several classmates had decided to complete their coursework from their homes or by living in off-campus apartments because they find the campus restrictions unmanageable.
Craig explained that all her classes except the consent band course will be conducted online and the typical college traditions are out of sight. Still, she is excited to shop for her new dorm room with her suitemate. She hopes that the basketball matches of colleges will be resumed one day. Craig would like to play the flute or piccolo if the Knights take the court.
Craig didn’t hesitate even after learning the social distancing rules of the campus.
She said that she is surely moving to Orlando.