I want to get all of your opinions on this because it’s not being talked about at all online as far as I can tell:
I’m an incoming freshman for the University of Iowa this fall. Iowa just announced that they will be transitioning to online learning after Thanksgiving and, among other regulations, will be mandating six feet of distance for all students, faculty, and staff from the start of the semester through the end. It’s not clear how pervasive the six-foot rule is, but the tone seems to indicate it’ll be close to all-encompassing.
I am a complete believer in science and public health and safety experts, however I know enough about psychology and college to know that forming any kind of relationship (whether they be friendships or romantic ones) without close physical proximity and even contact is almost impossible.
Relationships are the lifeblood of, well, life. They’re also crucial to mental health as well; something that is inherently stressed by a pandemic. How do colleges honestly believe students are supposed to form and sustain new connections, or participate in clubs, or study with their peers, or do any number of things that require physical and meaningful proximities?
I don’t have the financial luxury to afford to waste a year of school. If Iowa had announced they were doing online courses for the whole year I would’ve deferred and saved myself the trouble. Now I’ve not only been deprived that choice, but they’re also in the process of crippling what was supposed to be a normal, adequate college experience.
I’m sure Iowa’s not the only school making a decision like this, so what are other students seeing and thinking? What advice do you have for me and those stuck in the same boat?