Residential students at the University of Connecticut shared both their satisfaction with the move-in process and initial round of testing for COVID-19, and their concerns about what the rest of the semester might look like, as it is dependent on the student and faculty adherence to social-distancing guidelines as set forth by the university.
Bridget Didona, a third-semester environmental science and biology major, said she felt the move-in and testing process was done well.
“I think UConn did a good job spacing out the move-in process so we wouldn’t be around too many people,” Didona said. “I feel that they’ve done a good job overall, I just hope they continue to be strict about enforcing social distancing and no gatherings.”
Grace Brangwynne, a fifth-semester political science major who was identified as someone who may have come in-contact with another student who tested positive for COVID-19, spoke about the ease of the move-in process.
“Move-in day was pretty easy for me. The actual testing process was pretty seamless, there weren’t a lot of people there,” Brangwynne said.
While she felt the initial testing process was straightforward, Brangwynne was concerned about the actual enforcement of the social distancing guidelines as the semester begins.
“I think they handled the initial testing pretty well, but I think the problem arises when you try to enforce those social-distancing guidelines,” Brangwynne said. “Like, you see groups of five to six people walking around campus, and, you know, part of you wants to say something, and question why they are all in a big group.”
Brangwynne said she appreciated the hard work the RAs are putting into trying to enforce guidelines to keep everyone safe.
“I think the RAs also have a very difficult job of trying to patrol the parties and stuff like that,” Brangwynne said. “I do think it’s also on the students to be cognizant and ‘protect the pack.’”
An anonymous RA also commented on the move-in process, similarly referencing it as ‘seamless’, but was concerned about the lack of communication between UConn and the residential assistants on campus as cases began to arise in the dorms.
“The move-in process was pretty seamless, it was going by really fast, but it was within, like, those first couple days, rumors started spreading around campus.” the RA said. “When things didn’t work out the right way or when things started to hit the fan, Res Life and UConn weren’t really there to let the [RAs] know.”
The anonymous RA said they found out about potential positive cases through an Instagram account, rather than directly through the University.
Their main priority is our safety and yet, we are sitting here knowing that we are not safe.
“They are asking us to be really involved with our residents, and it was really sad, I was literally in training while all these emails were circulating. As they are talking about how much they care about us and how our safety is their main priority, it felt like a spit in the face,” they said. “Their main priority is our safety and yet, we are sitting here knowing that we are not safe.”
The RA said they felt that while UConn has put together a good set of guidelines to ensure safety on campus, the success of the semester is dependent on whether or not students follow the set rules, which has not always been the case so far. They used the long lines at the dining halls as an example of UConn not always enforcing social distancing guidelines.
The RA said that they “waited in line an hour to get food,” and it was “crazy because there was no social distancing, and no option to social distance.”
When an email from UConn was sent out to alert the community that students who had a dorm party had been immediately sent home, there were mixed reactions from residential students.
“I was so disappointed,” Brangwynne said. “People have to realize that they have to delay their gratification and recognize that if you’re willing to make choices like this, it only increases the chance that we are probably not going to come back in the spring.”
Didona noted the same concerns.
I was so disappointed.
“I would say I’m upset that not everyone is taking social distancing seriously and I hope that it doesn’t become more of a problem as we get further into the semester,” Didona said.
The anonymous RA noted that it was a smart decision by UConn to send the students home, as it showed the university’s priority to keep everyone safe.
Overall, everyone interviewed noted the importance of students complying to the health protocols and guidelines while on-campus in order to be allowed to stay for the duration of the semester.
“We’re all in this together. Students need to hold each other accountable and ‘protect the pack,’ a whole new meaning (especially) if we want to stay on campus,” Brangwynne said. “This is a team effort and people need to realize that.”
Amanda Kilyk is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org