COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Less than two months away from the start of school for many college student across the state, but what will this new school year look like with changes to campus due to the coronavirus.
The University of South Carolina is planning to allow students to return to campus this Fall after being gone since March, but the way of life students once knew will now change with online learning.
“You’re basically teaching yourself,” said Alexis Mitchum, a USC rising junior. “The teachers do the best they can, but however many students you have you have to reach them by email.”
The academic gap is part of the reason behind the push to return to face to face instruction, but before students can get back to campus life there are changes to make note of.
Jon Gerber, a USC grad student says, “Making sure we’re wearing masks and we’re taking care of ourselves now before we get back to campus to minimize any risk and take care of the people around us. Because now is the time to not be selfish and care for others.”
All students, faculty, and staff are required to wear masks in campus buildings like the library and in classrooms.
COVID-19 testing is also required for those returning to campus and the university is stressing the importance of contact tracing to prevent spreading of the virus. Students will return to campus in a phased process and schedules will be staggered.
Many USC students say they do not mind the changes, because returning to campus is essential in their success.
“The online classes is much different than the in person instruction which I don’t like all that much, I’d rather be face to face than sitting in front of a computer screen,” said Bobby Nowicki, a USC rising junior.
“I’m excited to get back to campus, but it’s very important to take the safety precautions into consideration,” said Gerber.
Several study abroad programs have also been canceled as a result of the coronavirus and key buildings on campus like the student union are also closed until further notice.
As part of this plan, students who violate shelter and safety orders put in place by the city of Columbia where campus is located could also face disciplinary action from the school.