By Collin Atwood
Back in July, Springfield College announced what the plan would look like in regards to the return back to campus. Despite those plans, Alden Street was emptied about three weeks earlier than expected because of the high number in coronavirus cases on campus.
The main points from the original plan included details on testing, isolation housing and behavioral expectations.
All students were tested before arrival and upon arrival to campus. Those who tested positive had to stay home in isolation for 14 days.
Every week 10 to 20 percent of the student population was tested for COVID-19.
There was also a contact tracing team to help track the people who came in contact with someone who had COVID-19.
A living space was set aside for people who tested positive for COVID-19 and for others who came in contact.
They must remain in the building at all times and must take their classes remotely.
Students were expected to wear a mask at all times except when in their dorm rooms.
They were also expected to follow social distancing rules and had limits to how many people could be at a gathering.
Springfield College was not the only school to have these rules set in place for the arrival of their students. Surrounding schools like Western New England University, University of Massachusetts Amherst and American International College had their own plans for the fall semester.
Springfield College’s closest neighbor, Western New England, had a similar plan.
All students had to be tested upon arrival and at the beginning of the semester. Students that came from high risk states or states that require quarantine had to move in early so they could serve that quarantine time.
Students also had to wear face masks at all times except for when they were in their residence halls. Under no exception was anyone allowed to stay overnight if they were not a student at WNEU.
Social distancing rules and limits in people were in play at the school as well.
Something that WNEU did that was different was that they gave their students two free facemasks upon arrival to campus.
U-Mass Amherst had similar plans when it came to testing, contact tracing and isolation housing. They also had the same plan to send everyone home on November 20 and not to return until the spring semester.
Class capacities at the school were reduced to help follow social distancing guidelines.
For moving in, students were advised to bring less items with them. They were also told to pack for 12 weeks at the college rather than a whole year, considering the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak.
For AIC, another neighboring school to Springfield College, they were told to check for symptoms before heading back to campus.
Students were also required to take a training module before participating in classes, athletics or other school activities which differs from most of the other schools.
Just like the other schools, AIC required students to wear masks and to follow social distancing rules around campus.
Most schools in the area all responded the same way. The plan was to keep students on campus for as long as possible, but for some that did not work out. From now on, these schools will be finishing their semesters from home while we continue to fight this pandemic.
Photo: Springfield College