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can we have a thread w/ on-campus/in-person experiences?


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Move-in day was supposed to be Sunday. The college just pushed it back a week (classes were to be all online the first week anyway, so no class schedule change, just move-in day).

DS is headed to college in Kenosha, WI. This past week there have been protests and riots and out of state, right-wing nut-jobs with long guns shooting people out of some declared sense of vigilante justice. Pushing back move-in date was the right call here. Kenosha is not a big place and this is scary. The campus is pretty self-contained, but it's also only 3 miles from where the 17-yo kid shot 3 people. <sigh> anxiety is high here.

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7 hours ago, RootAnn said:

... University of Alabama continues to create controversy. Professors don't feel safe and students in quarantine are on the honor system (but maybe aren't behaving honorably).

https://news.yahoo.com/amphtml/university-alabama-faculty-reportedly-told-215611361.html

 

All of this stuff from some of the large, southern colleges makes me relieved that my dds both ended up elsewhere. The behavior at Georgia or Alabama are so different from where DD2 is going to school! A friend of mine has a daughter at UGA and she is... not pleased.

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DDs university went from "requesting" that students get tested to requiring everyone (teachers, other employees, and students) to be tested over approx. 2 week period of time. Not a rapid test; results are back within two days. All of DDs friends & suitemates have tested negative (relief!!) - even her friends who are rushing (which is the school's biggest problem atm... but those students are being suuuuuuuuuper careful compared to what I've seen at UGA and UA!).

DDs almost finished with Week #2! Her hybrid classes have settled into somewhat of a routine (or, at least, they have a schedule now). DD is lucky in that 100% of her professors are amazing this semester. She is just thrilled with all of her classes.

She is finding her biggest challenge is the age-old Finding Balance Between friends vs schoolwork vs sleep, which surprised her because she half-expected to be holed up in her dorm room all the time.

The biggest concern *I* see is making time to eat. Not having a kitchen is a problem. She's a "grazer" by nature, so it is a huge adjustment to have to make a trip specifically to get food. She's used to having a fridge already pre-loaded with tons of stuff she likes to grab-and-eat (we pre-cut tons of fruits, veggies, and have boiled eggs, grilled chicken, and tuna ready to go in our fridge at home - plus tons of nuts on hand, which she does have in her dorm). She's trying to not forget to eat or to ignore the urge. She's very thin on a normal day, so she's being v diligent about getting enough protein and calories each day, but it's a struggle for her to make the time for it when she's otherwise so busy. Luckily, her friends are HUNGRY, so she usually just eats with them. 😄

So far, still v pleased with the school's response and to the students' overall handling of the COVID procedures.

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6 hours ago, AEC said:

Move-in day was supposed to be Sunday. The college just pushed it back a week (classes were to be all online the first week anyway, so no class schedule change, just move-in day).

DS is headed to college in Kenosha, WI. This past week there have been protests and riots and out of state, right-wing nut-jobs with long guns shooting people out of some declared sense of vigilante justice. Pushing back move-in date was the right call here. Kenosha is not a big place and this is scary. The campus is pretty self-contained, but it's also only 3 miles from where the 17-yo kid shot 3 people. <sigh> anxiety is high here.

 

Gently and with respect for what you wrote above,  I believe you are missing some of the facts that I have read.  You omitted the looting and arson and that the Wisconsin National Guard has been called in, among other things.

As late as it is in the process, I suggest that you and your DS consider the possibility of a very  last-minute switch, to another college, possibly in another state. 

Kenosha is not a place that can be recommended for your DS at this time.   You are IMO correct to find the situation there scary. It is, as are some other cities in the U.S. at this time, a very dangerous place.   Portland OR, etc.

The DOJ has deployed 200 Agents to Kenosha.

If you lived in Kenosha and your DS was extremely familiar with the city and the county, that would be less dangerous for your DS, but that isn't the case. He would be a visitor in a place that has gone up in flames, more than once, in the past week or so.

Your DS might be extremely lucky and not be in the "wrong" place at the wrong time, but then again, there is risk to being in Kenosha at this time.

Good luck to your DS!   Godspeed to him.

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7 hours ago, easypeasy said:

 

All of this stuff from some of the large, southern colleges makes me relieved that my dds both ended up elsewhere. The behavior at Georgia or Alabama are so different from where DD2 is going to school! A friend of mine has a daughter at UGA and she is... not pleased.

My dd is at UGA. It is hard for her to stay in and avoid crowds. Bars are crowded, parties are happening... There are rules and regulations but there is no enforcement. She is pleased with how her professors are making classes better online. They now have an app where you if you are zooming in to class you can open your seat for someone who wants to attend live. That is helpful, except most kids don't bother to use it... Using a meal plan has been difficult (dd is an apartment and does not have one); lots of things have been difficult. But what did we think we would happen? 

 

Other dd is a freshmen in Charleston - they are all virtual for the first 3 weeks. She is living in a house off campus. That city is enforcing mask wearing and handing out tickets. Students have been suspended or given warnings from the city and the university. While at the library, dd had to submit her picture to securely take a quiz, she took her mask off to get the picture, and a security guard asked her to leave immediately. DD, of course, left and it made a huge impression on her how serious the college is. That is what it will take. BUT my dd is lonely. She can't make friends because there is nothing to do; there are no meetings, no clubs, no church... She and her roommate have gone to the beach a few times which is nice, but they are depressed. I have told her to chant - This too shall pass.

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9 hours ago, easypeasy said:

The biggest concern *I* see is making time to eat. Not having a kitchen is a problem. She's a "grazer" by nature, so it is a huge adjustment to have to make a trip specifically to get food. She's used to having a fridge already pre-loaded with tons of stuff she likes to grab-and-eat (we pre-cut tons of fruits, veggies, and have boiled eggs, grilled chicken, and tuna ready to go in our fridge at home - plus tons of nuts on hand, which she does have in her dorm). She's trying to not forget to eat or to ignore the urge. She's very thin on a normal day, so she's being v diligent about getting enough protein and calories each day, but it's a struggle for her to make the time for it when she's otherwise so busy. Luckily, her friends are HUNGRY, so she usually just eats with them. 😄

So far, still v pleased with the school's response and to the students' overall handling of the COVID procedures.

 

Are they allowed a mini fridge in their dorm rooms? That has made a huge difference for our daughter who is a junior this year and tends to have blood sugar dips. She has also learned to carry nuts and/or protein bars in her backpack and to use the snack place on campus, if needed. (The meal plan at her school has a certain amount of $ allocated to noncafe, so it's use it or lose it anyway for her.)

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2 hours ago, iamonlyone said:

Are they allowed a mini fridge in their dorm rooms? That has made a huge difference for our daughter who is a junior this year and tends to have blood sugar dips. She has also learned to carry nuts and/or protein bars in her backpack and to use the snack place on campus, if needed. (The meal plan at her school has a certain amount of $ allocated to noncafe, so it's use it or lose it anyway for her.)

 

Yes.  When DD and her now ex roommate (she was an International student and went back to her Passport country before the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester) first began sharing a room, before the Fall 2019 semester began,  they bought a small Refrigerator, among other things. I believe that is common in university dorm rooms.

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Welp, DS got to campus on Tuesday, got tested, got to his room in a senior house with three other pre-med/biology majors, got a negative result today, aaand one of the three housemates got a positive.  So that housemate is in the infirmary hotel, DS and the other two are quarantined at the house for two weeks, will start online classes on Monday and have food delivered from the dining hall.  Positive housemate is completely asymptomatic and feels very badly about being the positive one.  I sent DS with a plethora of immune boosters, enough to share with his other housemates.  There's apparently 6 positives out of about 2000 kids on-campus, which isn't as bad as it could be.  

Sighing.

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9 hours ago, iamonlyone said:

 

Are they allowed a mini fridge in their dorm rooms? That has made a huge difference for our daughter who is a junior this year and tends to have blood sugar dips. She has also learned to carry nuts and/or protein bars in her backpack and to use the snack place on campus, if needed. (The meal plan at her school has a certain amount of $ allocated to noncafe, so it's use it or lose it anyway for her.)

 
She does have a mini fridge in the room  that she shares with her roommate. 👍 It froze everything inside solid and dd hasn't yet been shopping to refill it. lol That will definitely help once she has yogurt, etc in her room again. (She's readjusted the fridge's settings since the Great Freezing, lol).

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On 8/28/2020 at 5:01 AM, Lanny said:

 

Gently and with respect for what you wrote above,  I believe you are missing some of the facts that I have read.  You omitted the looting and arson and that the Wisconsin National Guard has been called in, among other things.

As late as it is in the process, I suggest that you and your DS consider the possibility of a very  last-minute switch, to another college, possibly in another state. 

Kenosha is not a place that can be recommended for your DS at this time.   You are IMO correct to find the situation there scary. It is, as are some other cities in the U.S. at this time, a very dangerous place.   Portland OR, etc.

The DOJ has deployed 200 Agents to Kenosha.

If you lived in Kenosha and your DS was extremely familiar with the city and the county, that would be less dangerous for your DS, but that isn't the case. He would be a visitor in a place that has gone up in flames, more than once, in the past week or so.

Your DS might be extremely lucky and not be in the "wrong" place at the wrong time, but then again, there is risk to being in Kenosha at this time.

Good luck to your DS!   Godspeed to him.

It can be hard to get a good picture of conditions in a distant city in our current news climate. @Lanny this article from AP news https://apnews.com/c6667f34cbafe73c36be32d41a3b8325 may provide a better picture of Portland, OR. I live very close the main protest site downtown. I would not go to the 2 blocks around the Justice Center between the hours of 10pm and 3am unless I wanted to participate in protests, but life here in Portland is normal and not dangerous.

@AEC If the spike of violence at the protest activity in Kenosha is driven by non-locals, it may stop quickly. Keep an eye on the news - I see there is an arrest for the shooting - but unless your dc has an interest in participating in the protests, they are easily avoided. In my experience so far this year, the bigger question is how long your student's university will be online only, and if the surrounding community will be very restricted. My dd18 had a mix of in person, online and hybrid classes when she arrived at her college. She just finished her 14 day mandatory quarantine - in time for a stay at home order for her city. All classes had switched to online before they started on August 24th. It is worth talking through with your dc what it might be like to be on a mostly closed campus with all classes online. @Lanny I would love to hear what your daughter says about her experience with this. Would she advise current freshmen to move in their dorms with all online classes and a mostly closed campus?

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1 hour ago, Bocky said:

It can be hard to get a good picture of conditions in a distant city in our current news climate. @Lanny this article from AP news https://apnews.com/c6667f34cbafe73c36be32d41a3b8325 may provide a better picture of Portland, OR. I live very close the main protest site downtown. I would not go to the 2 blocks around the Justice Center between the hours of 10pm and 3am unless I wanted to participate in protests, but life here in Portland is normal and not dangerous.

I agree with Bocky. We are in Kansas City and there have been federal agents here for about a month. My kids participate in the protests regularly. Though KC are not the hot bed that Portland and Kenosha are and we have not had armed vigilantes at protests, we have found the protests to be non-violent and safe. If a protest is slated to go later than 9:00 pm, we highly recommend DC to leave as the atmosphere tends to escalate at that point. Currently most people in KC don't even know that protests continue unless they happen upon them in their normal course of business.

My heart goes out to the people of Kenosha.

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I am In the Minneapolis area.  A lot of outsiders came in to stoke violence and it was things quickly dissipated once the right people were arrested.  Know many many people who have peacefully protested.  Which is a constitutional right.  There are also protests in Madison where my son attends. Not particularly worried.  

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We live not too far from Kenosha, and DW went to college there. Recent protests seem to be mostly peaceful, though it sounds like there are federal agents (DHS) coming in, so there's fear of the same kind of unmarked-car/un-ID'd-officer abductions that happened in Portland. It's unclear exactly what we're going to do, TBH. DS is strongly sympathetic with the BLM protests, but is also planning on taking 19 hours this term so honestly - he won't have much time anyway.

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5 hours ago, AEC said:

We live not too far from Kenosha, and DW went to college there. Recent protests seem to be mostly peaceful, though it sounds like there are federal agents (DHS) coming in, so there's fear of the same kind of unmarked-car/un-ID'd-officer abductions that happened in Portland. It's unclear exactly what we're going to do, TBH. DS is strongly sympathetic with the BLM protests, but is also planning on taking 19 hours this term so honestly - he won't have much time anyway.

 

DD has a similar quandary. She participated in local protests before going away to school. Now that she's on campus within driving distance to one of the "hotter' protest sites, she wants to participate. But she's unfamiliar with the area AND concerned about going to a large gathering and then coming back to campus when she's being SO careful with COVID restrictions, she says it feels irresponsible to go away and then come back to her roommate who barely leaves their room because she's so afraid of getting sick.

I'm proud of her participation and her desire to continue, but those unmarked car grabbings did. not. make. me. a. happy. mama. and concern me more than the other stuff (well, with the exception of 17-year-old knuckleheads big guns)

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7 hours ago, easypeasy said:

DD has a similar quandary. She participated in local protests before going away to school. Now that she's on campus within driving distance to one of the "hotter' protest sites, she wants to participate. But she's unfamiliar with the area AND concerned about going to a large gathering and then coming back to campus when she's being SO careful with COVID restrictions, she says it feels irresponsible to go away and then come back to her roommate who barely leaves their room because she's so afraid of getting sick.

My daughter would definitely be out there protesting if campus allowed it. Our experience with protests is that with regards to COVID they are one of the safer out of the house activities. Everyone masks unlike the general population.

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On 8/29/2020 at 10:08 AM, Bocky said:

<snip>@Lanny I would love to hear what your daughter says about her experience with this. Would she advise current freshmen to move in their dorms with all online classes and a mostly closed campus?

 

First some background: My DD has been SIP ("Sheltering in Place") since after Spring Break in March 2020. She cannot come home because airline flights (Domestic and International) have been prohibited here. Starting in September, there will be a few Domestic flights.

Her school (UNC) after the Fall semester began on August 10th and  then had the almost immediate issues with COVID-19 (and the horrible publicity that went with that) and them switching all Undergraduate courses to "Online" then encouraged many of the students to move out of the dorms or other university run housing. A few days ago, I read that they said approximately 45% of those students had moved out and that aids in the  de-densification of the housing.

It is not a situation I could have imagined on New Years Day and is not what I would like for my DD or other students, but it could be far far worse.

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So, dd#1's college had 18 incoming students test positive on entry testing & 17 so far (as of 9/3) since move-in (8/19). They normally have just under 10,000 students. I have not seen any nimbers on how many are on campus (living, taking in person, hybrid, or online) or total enrolled (including all-remote, which is an option). Almost 6,000 did entry testing.

Dd#2's DE college announced their full time enrollment is down about 60 students, from 1,349 to 1,291.  Total headcount (including part time students) is down only 18. Only a fraction (1/3rd? less than 1/2) of those are on campus/in person as their programs have catered heavily to online learners for awhile. I don't know which thread enrollment has been discussed previously, so I'm putting it here.

That small campus has not been doing well with Covid. They have already had 37 reported cases (out of 400-600 on campus students). Their football, basketball, and volleyball teams have all been quarantined due to several players testing positive. Quite a few kids are in quarantine every day and there are no 'remote' options for those kids like there are at my dd#1's college that is on a hybrid/online approach. Dd#2 has a class that only allows 2 absences free before your grade drops and since there is no textbook, all info is via lecture. PowerPoints are available online, but DD reports they are pretty barebones... I'm thinking if the students don't wise up, they'll be all online again by the end of the month.

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20 hours ago, RootAnn said:

That small campus has not been doing well with Covid. They have already had 37 reported cases (out of 400-600 on campus students). Their football, basketball, and volleyball teams have all been quarantined due to several players testing positive. Quite a few kids are in quarantine every day and there are no 'remote' options for those kids like there are at my dd#1's college that is on a hybrid/online approach. Dd#2 has a class that only allows 2 absences free before your grade drops and since there is no textbook, all info is via lecture. PowerPoints are available online, but DD reports they are pretty barebones... I'm thinking if the students don't wise up, they'll be all online again by the end of the month.

Yikes. I'm sorry to hear that they are not doing well. I cannot believe that professors are implementing attendance policies like that during a pandemic. I can imagine that lots of students who might have "mild" illness would be incentivized to attend classes despite not feeling well to avoid penalties. That will just make the whole problem worse. *sigh*

I hope your kids stay healthy!

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The roommate of my DD stayed at UNC until some time in August and by then they had switched all  Fall 2020 semester Undergraduate courses to "Online". She's an International student and she went home in (late ?) August, as did many other students. Her time zone is I believe approximately 12 hours from that of UNC.  I understand that she would like to return to Chapel Hill, for the Spring 2021 semester.  I told my DD, if she is taking Synchronous Online courses, she is doing that at night and during the middle of the night, her local time, and I hope they have an excellent Internet service in their home.

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On 9/9/2020 at 10:36 AM, Bootsie said:

DS has three classes that meet online and one that is in-person.  But, the in-person class is moving online as the professor has a child who is running a fever.  He is disappointed; he much prefers in-person.

 

DD had one class that was "hybrid." They were online for lectures and were supposed to meet several times in person through the semester for projects. The professor "decided he didn't want to have to drive to campus," so moved the entire class to online for the semester. DD is soooooo disappointed!!!!

(she's disappointed for two main reasons. One, the obvious: PEOPLE. The second is because this prof did what so many others seem to be doing: he replaced in-person projects with super-detailed essay assignments! She now has 3 additional papers to write for this class that is historically known for being a mostly "hands-on, low-homework" sort of class. ARGH!!! So, no people AND more work! She's had this happen for two classes so far.)

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7 hours ago, easypeasy said:

 

DD had one class that was "hybrid." They were online for lectures and were supposed to meet several times in person through the semester for projects. The professor "decided he didn't want to have to drive to campus," so moved the entire class to online for the semester. DD is soooooo disappointed!!!!

(she's disappointed for two main reasons. One, the obvious: PEOPLE. The second is because this prof did what so many others seem to be doing: he replaced in-person projects with super-detailed essay assignments! She now has 3 additional papers to write for this class that is historically known for being a mostly "hands-on, low-homework" sort of class. ARGH!!! So, no people AND more work! She's had this happen for two classes so far.)

This is an interesting observation.  DS is finding his online classes have a heavier workload.  I polled my own students and 80% said that they had heavier or much heavier workloads than a typical semester (with many of those reporting much heavier).  I don't think the faculty has intended to do this but we were under pressure to prove that our online class was just as rigorous as an in-person class.  In addition, we were given a lot of guidance by the teaching and learning experts--that we needed to have at least one learning artifact (graded component), multiple little assignments to keep students engaged, discussion boards so that students interact with each other....  My students are finding that some of those things don't take that much time on their own, but having to get in and out of technology takes as much time as "write two sentences in the discussion board".  It's just a lot of overwhelming, small pieces to keep up with and even though we are all using the same LMS, each professor's class looks different in how material is organized.  

On top of that, I think we have underestimated the benefit of walking out of a class with our head spinning with new information and talking to a friend for a few minutes before we head into another class.  Or, seeing a friendly smile and hearing "good luck" before we begin an exam.  Those are breathes of fresh air sprinkled in a day that students are no longer getting.  

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Our dd20 is finishing up the first three weeks of all on-campus, in-person classes. So far, so good ... and praying they make it all the way through Thanksgiving break! (The last week of classes and finals week are scheduled to take place off campus.)

Edited to add: She is finding it interesting that there is much less class discussion (fewer and shorter comments offered) with students wearing masks. For some reason they seem to talk less with something over their mouths. She has noticed this is her inclination as well. They are also spaced farther apart, so maybe that has something to do with it as well...

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Here's my experience from an instructor perspective.
My large enrollment class has two asynchronous online sections and one in-person section that meets in the gym where there is room for distancing. Not much different than in normal semesters, except for the immense email volume, and the fact that I have no demo equipment and can only show videos of me doing the demo. I am wearing a face shield and a mic. It's difficult to hear students' questions, because everybody is wearing masks and sitting so far apart.

My smaller class is hybrid; I teach in the classroom while simultaneously a part of the class is on Zoom. It's a challenge to pay attention to both the in-class and the Zoom students, made more challenging by the fact that most of the online students do not show video or even images - I have a screen full of black boxes - and they do not participate in the chat. So I don't know whether they are actually there or have switched on the Zoom and gone back to bed. (Some have... the ones who don't submit the in-class pop quizzes even though they're in the Zoom session)

I hold my help sessions on Zoom, and that works really well. I use the laptop for video and also log in on my tablet where I open OneNote and share the screen like a whiteboard. Unfortunately, attendance is way lower than normal. We usually have 60+ students on any given day, and we're running multiple Zoom and in-person sessions to accommodate that, but we can't get the students to show up.

Our school does aggressive contact tracing and quarantining, so many of my students are quarantined, and we have to provide all content and assignments in an online format. So far, that seems to contain the spread reasonably well. The students I see on campus are diligent about masking, and I feel safe in the classrooms. I had been concerned about traffic flow in the gym - 140 students entering while the class before us is leaving - but the class before mine finishes 45 minutes earlier, so there is no overlap, and there isn't a class scheduled right after we leave either. That's a big relief.

Just for fun, let me list some of the mistakes I made so far:
Shared the wrong screen on Zoom and had a window covering the chat, so I missed it when they told me they couldn't see what I was talking about (I atoned by making them a separate video later)
Graded with stylus on Canvas, not knowing that there's a check mark you have to click for each comment, otherwise the inking gets deleted when you submit the grade. That's why all homework I graded in week 1 has no comments on it. 
Forgot to calibrate the Wacom which I have to do before every.single.class since it does not save the settings. Interesting things happen when your cursor is not where you think it is.
Today I made duplicate upload assignments for the same homework and walked out of the classroom with the clip-on mic that lives in there (I noticed after a minute and raced to put it back).
But compared to the instructors who forgot to admit their students from the waiting room into the Zoom session or who opened the wrong session and never noticed until the end of class  that there wasn't anybody in the Zoom, I'm doing pretty good 🙂

I hope the students give me grace for my mishaps, as we're figuring out together how to make this work. This semester will require a sense of humor. 

 

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On 8/28/2020 at 7:01 AM, Lanny said:

 

Gently and with respect for what you wrote above,  I believe you are missing some of the facts that I have read.  You omitted the looting and arson and that the Wisconsin National Guard has been called in, among other things.

As late as it is in the process, I suggest that you and your DS consider the possibility of a very  last-minute switch, to another college, possibly in another state. 

Kenosha is not a place that can be recommended for your DS at this time.   You are IMO correct to find the situation there scary. It is, as are some other cities in the U.S. at this time, a very dangerous place.   Portland OR, etc.

The DOJ has deployed 200 Agents to Kenosha.

If you lived in Kenosha and your DS was extremely familiar with the city and the county, that would be less dangerous for your DS, but that isn't the case. He would be a visitor in a place that has gone up in flames, more than once, in the past week or so.

Your DS might be extremely lucky and not be in the "wrong" place at the wrong time, but then again, there is risk to being in Kenosha at this time.

Good luck to your DS!   Godspeed to him.

I really wouldn't go this far. There are protests in many cities, and some violence in many cities. You mention Portland, but several people on the boards have posted that they live there and avoid the protests with no problems. Could something happen? Yes, of course something could happen, that is always a possibility. I wouldn't switch colleges last minute just based on the nightly news; I'd do more digging for sure. The student could go to a currently protest-free city but that could change at any time, and the protests could be for a completely different reason. 

This isn't just a hypothetical for me. When my college-age dd was scheduled to study abroad for France, there were heightened travel warnings, mostly due to, yep, protests and accompanying violence. Of course, that was nerve-wracking to hear, and you saw all the worst things on the news. I investigated further, and the general consensus was that travel was pretty much as safe as usual if you took care to avoid protests. So she went, she avoided protests, and the greatest danger was from the crippling heat wave, lol. 

Something bad could have happened, yes. Something bad could have happened had she stayed home that summer, too. 

So, obviously not telling anyone what to do, other than to investigate and not make a knee-jerk decision based on the nightly news. 

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well...the end of week-2 on campus. So far, so good. Infection rates are reported to be low (though, the state's are rising rapidly, so I don't imagine that'll last). Masks are mandatory everywhere and DS reports essentially 100% compliance. He's making fewer friends, and it's harder to spend time with them, because the usual start-of-year/new-freshman activities were all cancelled. But he does seem to have found some peeps, and honestly DS isn't super people/friend focused. Half of his classes are fully online, the rest are hybrid with the exception of a dance class.  Voice lessons are being done remotely - he's in a practice room by himself w/ a laptop and a mic the school requested he get and the teacher is in some other room. He LOVES his voice teacher, so that seems to be working.

The students are doing a lot of janitorial services. 🙂 wiping down desks, the floor in the dance hall, etc. He seems happy to be on campus. We're headed to visit one day this weekend and won't be able to eat with him in the cafeteria or enter his dorm. We'll just picnic on the lawn someplace. At least it's still warmish.

The local big state school has just cancelled spring break - they'll go straight from one term to the next. I kinda expect we'll see more of that.

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We're at the end of Week 6. Our numbers are still around 1%. However, we have 3 Greek houses on full quarantine, so I suspect they are not testing everyone in the houses- just telling them to stay put. Our college only tests athletes and symptomatic people, but that isn't a bad strategy because almost 1/3 of our on-campus population of around 1200 are athletes. Our school has around 4000, but almost half of those are online graduate and professional studies and another significant portion are in existing online-only or health sciences sciences programs based on a hospital campus 40 minutes away.

The university has made a considerable effort to engage the students during high risk social times- outdoor movies, social distanced carnivals, that sort of thing. We're in a somewhat low transmission area right now, and the admins have created a business model of having the "college experience", even before COVID. We have record enrollment this fall, and to keep seated socially-distanced classes, we have them scheduled everywhere.

I've been teaching both on Zoom and live from the beginning, and like regentrude, have had my share of mishaps. I do have my students submit notes for days they are on Zoom.

I dislike Moodle with fiery, burning passion because it is so difficult to comment on student papers and the grade book is a hot mess. I've set up my classes so everything is turned into Teams, but mirror and link the assignments in Moodle so they can use the calendar feature and easily find recordings and such. I hate using multiple platforms, but I don't see a way around it. I've taught in some form, usually with an online component, since the early 2000s, but this is my first semester with Moodle.

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DD1 just completed her third week of classes. There has not been a case of COVID on campus with the exception for the one identified on intake. DD1 is really enjoying herself. Her favorite org, On Tap (a tap dancing group), has figured out how to conduct socially distanced rehersals. She was hesitant to be on campus for fear that social life would be greatly limited. However, for this student the group size limitation is to her advantage as she tends to get lost in large ones. She is studying, making trips into town for ice cream, and hanging out watching TV in socially distanced masked groups. Fingers crossed that thing keep going well for her.

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Is anyone else's dc finding that there's hardly any point in being on campus this year? Any other freshmen having a hard time meeting people?

To begin, I am glad that the school is being careful. They are being very, very careful. So far there have only been a handful of positive students, all of whom seem to have been whisked home, a policy the school is urging strongly. That doesn't seem wise to me, but they do seem to have a lid on coronavirus spread atm.

Dd has, out of five classes, one which meets in person weekly. It's been placed in a very large room with students spaced out and msked, so they end up having a hard time hearing and understanding each other when they speak. A science class has reduced the labs to only two for the entire semester. So, one weekly in person class, plus two labs at some point. Nothing else is in person.

All organizations have been forbidden to meet, on pain of permanent disbanding. No activities are allowed. When students arrived on campus, there were no getting-to-know-you activities. I had anticipated that RAs would take the kids outside, sit them down in a big circle or something, and have *some* organized way to introduce them to each other, but there was nothing. 

So, two weeks in, dd knows the names of her roommate and her RA, and that's it. She's only seen one other girl in their corner of the dorm, and that girl doesn't mask reliably, so dd is avoiding her. She says in general people seem to be sticking with their roommates, and not spending time in the large common areas. There seems to be none of the friendly interaction I remember from my own freshman dorm: no groups going to get meals together, no people introducing themselves to others in the hall. 

Anyone else finding the freshman experience is vastly different from what they expected?

 

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15 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Is anyone else's dc finding that there's hardly any point in being on campus this year? Any other freshmen having a hard time meeting people?

To begin, I am glad that the school is being careful. They are being very, very careful. So far there have only been a handful of positive students, all of whom seem to have been whisked home, a policy the school is urging strongly. That doesn't seem wise to me, but they do seem to have a lid on coronavirus spread atm.

Dd has, out of five classes, one which meets in person weekly. It's been placed in a very large room with students spaced out and msked, so they end up having a hard time hearing and understanding each other when they speak. A science class has reduced the labs to only two for the entire semester. So, one weekly in person class, plus two labs at some point. Nothing else is in person.

All organizations have been forbidden to meet, on pain of permanent disbanding. No activities are allowed. When students arrived on campus, there were no getting-to-know-you activities. I had anticipated that RAs would take the kids outside, sit them down in a big circle or something, and have *some* organized way to introduce them to each other, but there was nothing. 

So, two weeks in, dd knows the names of her roommate and her RA, and that's it. She's only seen one other girl in their corner of the dorm, and that girl doesn't mask reliably, so dd is avoiding her. She says in general people seem to be sticking with their roommates, and not spending time in the large common areas. There seems to be none of the friendly interaction I remember from my own freshman dorm: no groups going to get meals together, no people introducing themselves to others in the hall. 

Anyone else finding the freshman experience is vastly different from what they expected?

 

My daughter hasn't moved in yet (school starts Oct 2) but it's going to be so hard for the Freshman. My dd is a senior and is living off campus, and most of the dorm housing is closed to everyone. Freshman have been scrambling to find off campus apartments (the ones that are going) but it's hard enough as it is on such a large campus to get to know people. It's going to be 10 times worse now.  If my dd was a freshman I wouldn't send her to an off campus apartment, and if she went to a dorm I would be prepared for a lot of "I'm lonely" phone calls!  

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2 hours ago, SanDiegoMom said:

a lot of "I'm lonely" phone calls!  

Yep, we've had a few.

Dd was required to live on campus for her scholarship, but we could have pushed a bit and seen if she could get an exemption. Now we're wondering if we should for second semester. I could see the situation getting either better or worse.

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2 hours ago, Innisfree said:

Is anyone else's dc finding that there's hardly any point in being on campus this year? Any other freshmen having a hard time meeting people?

To begin, I am glad that the school is being careful. They are being very, very careful. So far there have only been a handful of positive students, all of whom seem to have been whisked home, a policy the school is urging strongly. That doesn't seem wise to me, but they do seem to have a lid on coronavirus spread atm.

 

This makes it very difficult, IMO, to compare how well different schools are doing containing spread.  One school discourages students from leaving and then gets any additional cases counted in their total number.  Another school is urging that students be whisked away--then if mom, dad, sibling, grandma, neighbor... get COVID, the spread isn't counted in the university spread.  From a public health perspective this doesn't appear helpful; the goal is not to simply minimize spread on the college campus, the goal should be to minimize spread in society.  

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As a faculty member we are trying hard to engage students--especially freshman--both those living on campus and those who are remote learners this semester.  The school hosted a virtual escape room that was well advertised where students would be in groups with upper classman and faculty; when the day came, I was in a group with three other faculty, the dean, and a staff member--we didn't have enough students to sign up to put even one student in each group!  We also are forming teams of freshman, again guided by faculty, to provide networking and support.  Students opted in if they wanted to participate--I have 6 students on my team (and another faculty and a staff member).  We have reached out to the students to try to set up our first meeting and are having trouble getting them to even complete the Doodle poll so we can see when they are available--one out of six responded.  A second gentle reminder and 2 more have responded.  

I know it isn't the same as a normal semester, but at least in my experience, the university is working hard for some innovative solutions.  Please encourage your students to take part in opportunities that may exist even if they aren't the perfect opportunities they were hoping for in freshman year. 

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16 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

From a public health perspective this doesn't appear helpful

I couldn't agree more!

9 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

Please encourage your students to take part in opportunities that may exist even if they aren't the perfect opportunities they were hoping for in freshman year. 

We're trying. I don't think dd's school is doing anything like that, though I may be wrong. It's just a hard situation for everyone.

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On 9/22/2020 at 9:57 AM, Bootsie said:

As a faculty member we are trying hard to engage students--especially freshman--both those living on campus and those who are remote learners this semester.  The school hosted a virtual escape room that was well advertised where students would be in groups with upper classman and faculty; when the day came, I was in a group with three other faculty, the dean, and a staff member--we didn't have enough students to sign up to put even one student in each group!  We also are forming teams of freshman, again guided by faculty, to provide networking and support.  Students opted in if they wanted to participate--I have 6 students on my team (and another faculty and a staff member).  We have reached out to the students to try to set up our first meeting and are having trouble getting them to even complete the Doodle poll so we can see when they are available--one out of six responded.  A second gentle reminder and 2 more have responded.  

I know it isn't the same as a normal semester, but at least in my experience, the university is working hard for some innovative solutions.  Please encourage your students to take part in opportunities that may exist even if they aren't the perfect opportunities they were hoping for in freshman year. 

I so appreciate the hard work you are doing. I know at my sons university they are trying to be positive and provide opportunities you describe.

The challenge I see from my son is that he is online already hours every day. He just doesn't really want more online structured time. I don't really have a solution. He is currently living on campus, but is re-evaluating if it isn't better to live at home next quarter if he can get all online courses. It is a difficult situation because on the one hand you can't have everyone on campus do whatever they want, however on the other hand these are young people many of whom feel really cooped up (at best) and very bored, lonely and even depressed.

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My two college kids stayed home and are taking online classes. They said that most of their friends who are living on campus are planning to move back home. Spending almost all of their time in their dorm rooms has gotten very boring.

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3 hours ago, Susie in CA said:

I so appreciate the hard work you are doing. I know at my sons university they are trying to be positive and provide opportunities you describe.

The challenge I see from my son is that he is online already hours every day. He just doesn't really want more online structured time. I don't really have a solution. He is currently living on campus, but is re-evaluating if it isn't better to live at home next quarter if he can get all online courses. It is a difficult situation because on the one hand you can't have everyone on campus do whatever they want, however on the other hand these are young people many of whom feel really cooped up (at best) and very bored, lonely and even depressed.

Nodding in agreement. I am SO grateful that various departments/groups within the university are thinking out of the box and attempting to create SOME social interaction - especially for the freshmen.

But, my girl is just so drained with all of the zoom/TEAMS/etc online time. She is tired of recording things to turn in (that she would have otherwise performed live).

She is so tired of structured, adult-in-the-room/moderated time. (For example, one event she missed out on was that the 20 students in her group would have been dropped off in the middle of a forest somewhere and left to their own devices for 4 days. They would have interacted, worked together as a group, etc - WITHOUT an "adult" anywhere in the vicinity. Because COVID - the activity was (obviously) changed. They changed it to a four-day ZOOM meeting (2-3 hours each day) where they broke out in small groups with a list of assigned questions to ask each other and ALWAYS had a "grown up" in the breakout room moderating and guiding the questions. She said she felt like she was in 7th grade or something and it was NOT a good replacement for what was supposed to happen. What would have been? I don't know... but less adult interaction would have been a good start...)

She's madly joining structured groups right now because she is so extroverted and has exhausted her natural resources for meeting new people - but she wants/needs just regular, old hangout time with friends. She wants time to get to know people better, to hear their stories, to laugh and tell jokes, to flirt, and to just chill.

Of course, there is no easy fix for that and it's frustrating. There just aren't any truly good solutions. 😕

So, I'm grateful to those who are creating new opportunities for socialization because it's certainly better than nothing, but also understanding of the college students (freshmen especially) who are just - done - with that sort of interaction.

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7 hours ago, Susie in CA said:

I so appreciate the hard work you are doing. I know at my sons university they are trying to be positive and provide opportunities you describe.

The challenge I see from my son is that he is online already hours every day. He just doesn't really want more online structured time. I don't really have a solution. He is currently living on campus, but is re-evaluating if it isn't better to live at home next quarter if he can get all online courses. It is a difficult situation because on the one hand you can't have everyone on campus do whatever they want, however on the other hand these are young people many of whom feel really cooped up (at best) and very bored, lonely and even depressed.

Oh I know students are tired of sitting in front of a computer (and the faculty are, also).  I think it is extremely hard on everyone, but I think young people who are at an age to breakaway from the family of origin, meet new people, interact with people with different ideas and experiences, and who are at a point in their life where they have lots of energy and I high need for physical activity have been especially hard hit.  I don't think being home with mom and dad and doing classes on a computer is going to be any less lonely for these young people.  

At the university we have a lot of pressure to make sure there is nothing that we do that could possibly lead to an outbreak, but at the same time help students who are feeling lonely, anxious, and depressed, and it is a tough situation to be in without good solutions.  

 

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My undergraduate university just posted a picture on their facebook page from a ping-pong tournament. They're playing four to a table and of all the tables, about 5 people are not wearing masks. They're certainly not six feet away from other people. The covid ward at the local (and only) hospital has been on overload for about the last 3 weeks. 😡

 

 

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On 10/3/2020 at 7:54 AM, Susie in CA said:

The challenge I see from my son is that he is online already hours every day. He just doesn't really want more online structured time. I don't really have a solution. He is currently living on campus, but is re-evaluating if it isn't better to live at home next quarter if he can get all online courses. It is a difficult situation because on the one hand you can't have everyone on campus do whatever they want, however on the other hand these are young people many of whom feel really cooped up (at best) and very bored, lonely and even depressed.

Yes! Dd's CC is hosting a bunch of virtual clubs, but they have the same problem. Everyone is just so sick of being online.

Her school is still scheduled to go back to in person classes in two weeks. I sure hope they can manage it. Dd has two Honors classes that would meet in person. She would love to be on campus even for just an hour a day. She's also got a job at Mathnasium so she gets a few other hours a week interacting with live humans. It makes such a difference in her quality of life.

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1 hour ago, elegantlion said:

My undergraduate university just posted a picture on their facebook page from a ping-pong tournament. They're playing four to a table and of all the tables, about 5 people are not wearing masks. They're certainly not six feet away from other people. The covid ward at the local (and only) hospital has been on overload for about the last 3 weeks. 😡

 

Did the ping pong tournament happen to be outside?  My university is hosting a series of competitions   from horse shoes to ping pong; they are also hosting some hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor trips.  

I am teaching on Zoom  but have students assigned to teams with an assignment due each week.  I specifically asked when I was assigning teams if they would prefer to be assigned to a team that met virtually (I have some students in foreign countries that have to meet that way) or if they were in the local area and would want to meet in person with their team.  It created another layer of complexity forming balanced teams, but I did it.  But, none of the teams are meeting in person--even the teams where all members live on campus and said they wanted to meet in person (and the university went to great lengths to make sure that areas are available for these groups that meet social distancing requirements, stocked with sanitizing equipment.  As I was reading through the Student Government Assoc resolution and push for return to in-person classes in the spring, I realized that two of the senators pushing for that are in my class--on teams which could meet on campus--and are choosing not to take advantage of the opportunity to do so.   That's a bit frustrating.  

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6 hours ago, Bootsie said:

Did the ping pong tournament happen to be outside?  My university is hosting a series of competitions   from horse shoes to ping pong; they are also hosting some hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor trips.  

I am teaching on Zoom  but have students assigned to teams with an assignment due each week.  I specifically asked when I was assigning teams if they would prefer to be assigned to a team that met virtually (I have some students in foreign countries that have to meet that way) or if they were in the local area and would want to meet in person with their team.  It created another layer of complexity forming balanced teams, but I did it.  But, none of the teams are meeting in person--even the teams where all members live on campus and said they wanted to meet in person (and the university went to great lengths to make sure that areas are available for these groups that meet social distancing requirements, stocked with sanitizing equipment.  As I was reading through the Student Government Assoc resolution and push for return to in-person classes in the spring, I realized that two of the senators pushing for that are in my class--on teams which could meet on campus--and are choosing not to take advantage of the opportunity to do so.   That's a bit frustrating.  

No it was inside. Even if it was outside the current campus regulations are that masks must be worn if within 6 feet of others. 

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Dd20 is starting week 7 of in-person (small Midwestern uni). There are definitely students in quarantine and some positives isolating. Still hoping they can make it all the way through to Thanksgiving break! Dd is trying to be extra careful as the only choral concert of the semester is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, and she really wants to sing in it! She is in two college choirs, and it is the first time she has a solo at the college level. Her stress level has gone up a notch since her level of care doesn't really matter if someone in one of her classes or suite is positive: she would be required to quarantine for 14 days.

The concert will be outside on the campus mall, ticketed audience only, masks required, BYO chairs, family groups all 6 feet apart, all attendees required to complete a wellness app before coming on campus.

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