In the fall, when school was about to start up again, there were still a lot of things that were uncertain. What would happen if COVID-19 broke out in a dorm, or more than one dorm? How would professors change classes traditionally taught in classrooms and lecture halls into things that could be taught over the internet, in Zoom calls and PowerPoints and tests? What safety measures were in place to try and limit the spread of the COVID-19?
Some of those questions have been answered. Whole dorms have been quarantined after an uptick in COVID-19 cases within that dorm. Teachers seemed to find ways to give information over the internet instead of through a class period in person, although it is often in ways that are not ideal for everyone to learn. Information about safety procedures has, to some extent, been made public with information about cleaning, testing, etc.
But, there is still far too much that the University of Connecticut hasn’t told us, especially about the spring semester. Housing has reopened, but it will continue to be extremely limited and will give priority to those who already live on-campus. This makes sense for limiting people moving and exposure, but it has serious downsides. People who currently live on-campus might have no in-person classes, while other people might have multiple.
Even more troubling, there is no way to know at this point whether the majority of classes will be in person or online for each person who applies because no one has picked classes yet. Picking doesn’t open until next week, and many people who aren’t seniors will be waiting even longer to lock in their classes and figure out how many times a week, if any, they’ll be in person.
In addition, some people have already been told that they won’t be getting housing for the spring, despite the fact that they haven’t even picked classes yet. How can UConn determine which students need housing the most in this era where it is so limited when students have not even determined if they are going to have to be on campus or not?
It has often felt like UConn has not been communicating well enough with students to explain their decisions around things like housing, nor have they stated when people who did not live on campus in fall but who appealed in the hopes of living on campus in spring might hear back from the housing department. It is difficult for me to plan my semester without knowing whether I will be commuting or not, and this is the case for many students right now.
I understand that planning during a pandemic is extraordinarily difficult. However, the students are the people who are keeping the university open. We are paying tuition to be educated at this school and, therefore, deserve to be informed about how we are going to be educated and where that education will take place. While most classes are now posted on Student Admin, I have yet to see any confirmation that those listings are final, which is pretty problematic since seniors start picking classes in one week.
Information about the spring semester needs to both be sent directly to students and be more easily accessible. Google managed to inform me that students will be informed if they get housing in early November, but that is both still before some people pick and not information that is easily visible in MyHousing.
Students deserve to have more information about what our school is doing to ensure that everyone can learn safely and successfully. In addition, UConn should not make housing decisions before schedules have even been chosen; to do otherwise robs students of the opportunity to show that they need on campus housing if they are taking many in person classes, or to realize they don’t need it if they are not.