Students express concerns about returning to campus
Though APU students are excited about the possibility of returning to a communal college environment this fall, many of them fear what that return may look like.
While students are anxious over general COVID-19 related safety concerns, they also fear what a return to a busy, fast-paced lifestyle will look like after the slow year that the pandemic has brought about. Incoming students also worry about whether or not they will be able to integrate themselves into the campus community with social distancing protocols still in place.
APU is anticipating a return to campus for the fall semester, which will be determined by the guidelines that L.A. County’s Department of Public Health will lay out for universities this fall. L.A. County is now in the moderate orange tier risk level, with declining cases and increasing vaccination rates. Governor Newsom said in a press conference in early April that he expects higher education institutions to open for full-time in-person instruction in the fall.
“I am a little anxious because college-aged people are not the most careful,” said Olivia Nambu, a sophomore psychology major.
Nambu hopes that students will take the COVID-19 regulations seriously so that schools will not have to “close down again.”
Dean of Student Wellness Bill Fiala said “Although we are still waiting for the specifics, students should anticipate that all APU campuses will continue to observe current practices around good hygiene, mask wearing, physical distancing, limitations on large gatherings, daily symptom checklists and the like.”
It remains uncertain whether vaccination will be mandatory to attend class on campus, but Fiala said that APU will follow the L.A. County recommendation that non-vaccinated students undergo weekly monitoring.
Incoming students that have never attended APU in person hope that the university will help them with their transition to campus life.
“I hope that they don’t expect us to show up and know what we are doing,” said freshman Melissa Leung Liu.
Fiala said the Campus Life team is already developing ways to help all of the new students, including targeted programs for sophomores and transfer students.
The fear of a return to a busy lifestyle is another prominent student fear. Throughout the pandemic, many have reported a loss of motivation and have developed unhealthy habits such as binge watching television shows or scrolling through TikTok for hours.
“Motivation tends to drop when you feel a deficit in three key areas of life: your autonomy, competence and relationships,” says Lora Park, associate professor and director of the Self and Motivation Lab at the University of Buffalo.
A return to campus may remedy that. By participating in classes, forming study groups with classmates and utilizing the learning equipment that is available on campus, students may experience a boost in motivation, according to Scholarchip.
Students are also concerned about whether or not professors will become less lenient once everyone is back in the classroom.
“Professors are lenient right now because of COVID-19, but when we come back they may go back to having more assignments or making classes harder,” said sophomore kinesiology major Emily Leung Liu.
Fiala said students will be responsible for communicating with their professors and seeking out the support they need.
“It has been my experience that faculty tend to respond positively to students who are proactive in seeking out academic support and who take the initiative to let their professors know about their challenges as they come up,” Fiala said.