Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
NEW! Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+ Try 7 Days Free

Another American ritual the pandemic has warped: college arrivals

World Aug 15, 2020 07:10AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
3/3 © Reuters. Kaitlyn Abercia is seen moving into her student residence at Gates Hall on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock 2/3

By Brad Brooks

LUBBOCK, Texas (Reuters) - Brandon Vergel stood outside his new student dormitory at Texas Tech University, grappling with the bittersweet nature of yet another American rite of passage warped by the COVID pandemic -parents dropping their kids off at college.

Under a scorching afternoon sun, Vergel lugged his earthly belongings into the Hulen Hall residence he would now call home, nervously excited at the freedom of college life that awaited, but confronting an age-old conundrum: a mom that doesn't want to let go.

"My parents are being a little overbearing," Vergel said in a hushed voice as his father, Arturo, unloaded items from his black pick-up truck, and his mom, Nancy, stood nearby. "They don't think we can protect ourselves in a pandemic. But we do know how to take care of ourselves and we would like to start. Like, now."

How to safely and productively conduct courses is a challenge that university administrators, parents and students are trying to wrap their heads around.

Nearly a quarter of American universities will have classes either fully or primarily in person this fall, according to data collected by the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College, which tracks how colleges are changing amid the pandemic.

But another quarter of universities have not yet determined what they will do, while 32% are either primarily or fully online, 15% will have a hybrid of in-person and online course work, and the rest planning some alternative form of instruction.

At Texas Tech, the course work will be primarily in person, as it will be at most universities in the state. Some freshmen students will be living in dorms - they are required to live on campus their first year - but have a majority of their classes conducted online.

'BREAKING RULES'

Under a scorching afternoon sun outside the Texas Tech residence halls, students wore carefully chosen outfits, hoping to casually make fantastic first impressions on Friday.

They lugged suitcases stuffed with clothes, mini refrigerators and new televisions into the sand-colored brick buildings, all the while huffing under their face masks in the 104-degree heat.

In an effort to discourage crowding, families could only arrive at the Texas Tech dorms during pre-scheduled time slots and were given 90 minutes to move in. There was ample space in the parking lots that in a normal year would be scenes of joyous chaos, with hordes of students arriving all at once.

Everyone was asked to wear face masks both inside and outside the buildings, despite few other people around. Students said the masks were making communication more difficult - and chilling their ability to break the ice with their new neighbors.

Inside the residence halls it was eerily quiet. A handful of families checked in with residence hall student assistants, got room assignments, and then silently hauled belongings into rooms.

The same scene is playing out at universities across the United States this weekend, as teenagers' dreams of freedom are slamming up against the realities of college in the time of a pandemic.

Hopes that many hold out for wild keg parties have been dampened by being the first students in a century - going back to the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918 - to have been ordered to wear masks and stand apart.

Those safety precautions will be tested in places like Lubbock, a dusty west Texas town where generations of students have maintained a reputation for being the Lone Star state's hardest partying school.

"This is so weird because I cannot see anyone's face. I cannot meet them properly," said Kaitlyn Abercia, 18, from Cypress, Texas, as she moved into Gates Hall at Texas Tech. "I hope I can make a lot of friends."

Kaitlyn's mom, Denise, right then glanced at her daughter sideways and let out a chortle.

"Come on, you guys will be having parties tonight," she said. "I suspect plenty of students will be breaking rules."

Another American ritual the pandemic has warped: college arrivals
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Lake Lot
Lake Lot Aug 16, 2020 10:03PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Parties tonight , STD ‘s in 3-5 days , covid in 10 days , babies in 9 months ! Great education
Brian G Brown
Brian G Brown Aug 16, 2020 10:03PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Ahhh, the rigorous life of campus society 🙄
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email