Leaving home for college is exciting but it is also fraught with anxiety and confusion. No more so than this year as colleges and universities launch into the new academic year amid the …
Leaving home for college is exciting but it is also fraught with anxiety and confusion. No more so than this year as colleges and universities launch into the new academic year amid the pandemic.
My daughter, Lily, will start her college journey this August as she leaves for The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY to study music industry and voice.
Navigating the changing landscape of what college will look like this fall for Lily has proven to be a full-time job. It is enough to rival filling out that FASA form, which we have her father, John, to thank for figuring out.
At first, Lily was enrolled in a schedule of all in-person classes except for one philosophy class. After a second check, another class has transitioned to a virtual set-up. We are happy that, thus far, she only has two remote classes but, with the fluidity of the situation, it is hard to tell how this semester will go.
Many of Lily’s friends, along with students across the country, are faced with the decision of whether to move to campus or stay home as more and more classes are moved to remote status and the likelihood of a traditional campus experience is dashed.
Schools are struggling not only with schedules, of course, but also with costs and refunds associated with abridged semesters and the complex work of reconfiguring dorm rooms and classrooms for social distancing. Some of my daughter’s music classes will be conducted in outside tents—an alternative I can only see as lasting until November considering the Albany climate.
Like many colleges, Saint Rose plans to run the semester without any breaks until Thanksgiving when students will return home to take their finals remotely. The hope is that the second semester will start at the end of January.
Masks will be mandated in classes. Students will also record a daily temperature and wellness check through an online app.
Many colleges, including Saint Rose, are requiring students to have a COVID-19 test prior to moving into the dorms. And Syracuse University, my son’s old stomping grounds, is requiring returning students from “hotspot” areas to quarantine for two weeks in Syracuse prior to arriving on campus. In addition, students must sign code of conduct agreements with consequences for violating COVID-19 rules. The Daily Orange, the independent student newspaper at Syracuse, has reported that SU purchased a gigantic number of masks for collegiate use. The paper reports that the college bought more than 3.5 million face coverings, including both disposable and reusable masks.
We will see how it all goes. Lily has taken her math placement test. She has had her COVID-19 test. Her books are ordered. After much procrastination, she is sorting through her clothes.
I bought her an iron even though she says she prefers to use her hair flat iron to smooth her clothes if needed. (I imagine this is done last minute while she is wearing them). She has a thermometer, surge protector, laptop and extra-large twin sheets. She is in possession of her health insurance card. As hard as it is, she is ready to go. She needs to go.
We will miss her very much.