N.C. Central students gather in TV Studio while wearing face shields and masks to follow the university's COVID-19 safety mandates. Photo Courtesy: Campus Echo reporter Kristin Bowman

Campus during COVID, students shed light on college life in pandemic

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COVID-19 has drastically changed the campus culture for many students this fall semester.

Precious Davis, a senior at N.C. Central, described the campus as “dead” and “isolated”.

“Campus life just isn’t the same anymore,” Davis explained. “Our main concern now is being safe and taking those extra [precautions] to reduce the spread of COVID while on campus. There are signs posted everywhere reminding us to practice social distancing and we are not allowed anywhere on campus without face coverings.”

Elevators have a two-person limit with designated areas for each individual to stand. There are markings on the floors of each building identifying which direction students should walk to avoid clusters.

In addition, classrooms and computer labs have designated seating that keeps students separated from one another while working.

Students who live on campus also shared their opinions about being around others during this pandemic.

Taylor Anderson, another senior at N.C. Central, explained that the university has done its best efforts to keep students comfortable when it comes to housing.

“I feel okay,” said Anderson. “I think the school has and is still trying their best to keep everyone safe. I would say it has been different. It is not as lively as it once was.”

Anderson added that she still has her concerns about being because “you never know what your classmates are doing or who they have been around.”

Many of these students are involved in on-campus extracurricular activities that are now being held through video-chat platforms.

Anderson mentioned how she is no longer able to congregate and fellowship with her choir organization, WPI.

“I miss the concerts we held and being able to perform at different places,” Anderson added. “Around this time we are usually preparing for the fall and homecoming concerts, but unfortunately, homecoming is canceled too.”

Other students described being on campus as “frustrating” and “concerning”.

Dasia Bethea expressed her concerns regarding social distancing and how at times it’s hard to practice proper behaviors.

“I don’t think we should be on campus,” Bethea said. “I think it is inconsiderate for the students who are housed here. It is impossible to ensure every student is following the school’s expectations. Many students have already contracted the virus and spreading it is pretty easy when we are still this close.”

N.C. Central student Christopher Amadasun mentioned how there is no sense of family or fun on campus to help cope during this time.

Amadasun also works for Residential Life and understands the importance of feeling safe on campus.

“This is the time where I feel like we need each other the most,” Amadasun said. “Some people are far from their families, some people have sick family members, some of us are out of jobs. It’s a lot going on right now and it just sucks not having any sense of security.”

Certain areas on campus have been restricted from access due to COVID-19 as well.

Public water fountains have also been marked “OUT OF ORDER” to avoid use in attempts to reduce the spread of the virus among students. Now, hallways are completely empty compared to the start of this school year.

N.C. Central student Daja Davis talked about how many internships on campus have been sabotaged as a result of COVID-19 as well.

“A lot of internships require hands-on face to face training in order to process what is being presented,” Davis said. “Our departments are very understanding and they are working with us to fulfill our required hours, but it’s not the same experience. I feel like we really need that one on one time to prepare us for the real world.”

Other students expressed their concerns about how “risky” and “unpredictable” being on campus is during this time.

“You never know if and when we will have to leave,” N.C. Central student Makayla Johnson said in regards to the riskiness of students returning to campus. “The atmosphere has definitely changed. It’s nowhere near the same as the previous semesters. This honestly does not feel like college anymore. The lack of student interaction and campus events just makes things boring and uninteresting. Everyone has disconnected.”

N.C. Central student Aleyah Graham said that she believes meeting face to face is ultimately putting students at risk rather than benefiting them.

“I understand meeting in person provides a better learning environment, but I just feel that our safety is far more important,” Graham said. “Other college campuses called it a quits at the beginning of the semester because they felt like their students were at risk.”

For more information regarding COVID-19 safety precautions and updates at N.C. Central, visit nccu.edu/coronavirus

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