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How Coronavirus has Changed College Life and Higher Education

By Nate Soisson and Jason Hugg

May 28, 2020

We have all heard the stories of students having to miss their graduation, their campus life, and their friends in these uncertain times. Many across the globe are left without closure to what was supposed to be the best years of one’s life. Kutztown University has held strong in their academic beliefs in this time by turning the situation into the best one possible, meanwhile, students grasp at what this means for the future.

“Kutztown, obviously it’s all sudden, nobody was really expecting this, really did a good job of getting on their feet, but at the same time, I didn’t sign up for online classes” Says George Nicoloudakis, a sophomore marketing major at Kutztown University.

It’s a general consensus across the board that the student body is proud of the way things are handled, however upset at the outcome. This isn’t just a trend at Kutztown, as all throughout the country students understand why they are online, however it is difficult to grasp how the college experience could be placed online, instead of on campus.

“The great thing about college you know there is school, but it is unfortunate that we aren’t getting that college experience right now” Said Nicoloudakis on the current status of his college career.

“For some students that I would consider more in line with the traditional college demographic, tended to make the transition to online classes fairly smoothly, so students with quiet distraction free places to study… they had an easier time adapting to these new varied instructional methods…” Said Dr. Robert Fillman on the change of the average students approach to academics.

It is important to note that Kutztown has implemented a pass fail system of grading that one can optionally choose to either take their grade as long as it is over a 70%, and choose to just pass it and still obtain the credits, so their GPA doesn’t suffer due to the circumstances, or if a class is failed, the student can do the same, but they only will lose the credits, while maintaining their GPA.

This is a “godsend” for many, as it will prevent students from failing out due to these circumstances. Dr. Fillman also spoke on the other side of the spectrum as well saying “…on the other hand I think that students who didn’t have a quiet consistent place to study, struggled a bit more” as he spoke about those who are deemed essential workers, and those who may be dealing with the talons of this virus.

While most would assume that these buildings on campus are empty, and nobody continues to reside there during these times, that thought would be wrong. From residents life, to athletics, there are approximately 25 students still living on campus, who have all been relocated to an apartment dorm on campus. “It is a lot more quiet, more quiet than usual this time of the year. With a lot of the small shops being closed, there are limited food options, and it is starting to get to the point that some people are going into stores without a mask.” Said long time Kutztown resident, and student Noah Reasoner, who is currently still living on campus, who like many students, desperately awaits going back to their former education and lifestyle.

Though the future is very unclear at the time being, and with each passing day anticipation and excitement grows for the students, and incoming students of Kutztown for the fall semester, many still worry about what is to come in the next few months, as some are deciding to miss a semester if the classes are online again in the fall. Only time will tell the fate of the fall semester for colleges and universities across the country, however a new unity is bonded in the student body of the Golden Bears.

 

BCTV and Berks Weekly are working together to bring you the stories of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. This media partnership is made possible in part by the support of Berks County Community Foundation.

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