By Bianca Viana & Lizz Panchyk
Since March 2020, many things have changed on a global level. At Adelphi, we have not experienced a normal campus in over a year. However, this fall, it is everyone’s hope that we can expect a safe return to campus, thanks to the hard work and dedication of scientists, frontline workers and other health officials.
Universities across the country have rolled out plans to prepare for a safe return to campus. On July 26, Adelphi announced that as a part of its plan all students will need to be fully vaccinated to return to campus. On August 10, Adelphi reinstated the wearing of face masks and coverings on the campuses and on Panther transportation. This includes all members of the Adelphi community regardless of vaccination status. The reinstatement will only help to ensure that students are able to experience a safe and healthy environment on campus. However, all students are still required to fill out the Covid questionnaire on their AU2GO app.
Aside from new, and recurring, safety measures, many students coming back to campus for the first time in over a year will be able to experience a more normal college life.
For starters, they’ll be welcomed into our newly renovated Ruth S. Harley University Center. For those who have not yet had the chance to visit campus since March 2020, Sentwali Bakari, the vice president for Student Affairs, said he expects students to be “…pleased with the new look, gathering and meeting spaces, conference rooms and [variety of] dining options.”
Additionally, this semester students can expect to see more in-person gatherings allowed on campus in guidance with Covid guidelines. Bakari described this as a “robust campus life experience, including in-person student events, activities, meetings and social gatherings.”
However Bakari does want students to keep in mind that current guidelines on campus could change at any time given the uncertain nature of the pandemic.
“Although we anticipate a gradual increase of in-person student events, activities, meetings and social gatherings, we are cautious and want to see the Delta surge diminish,” he said. “Students can expect that our Health Services will remain committed to protecting the health and safety of Adelphi and administer the Covid-19 vaccine and offer testing for students.”
As campus life, including classes, begins to transition towards a more in-person experience, Bakari said that some students can expect that a hybrid of learning will continue and that they will have the options to be involved in programs and activities through a virtual format and in-person.
“Adelphi University wants to keep its community safe and to do so, we can see changes to this at any time following local and state safety guidelines,” he added.
Many students from the class of 2023 and forward have barely had the opportunity to learn on campus or experience normal college life due to the campus-wide shutdown at the peak of the pandemic, and the continuation of the classes being online within the 2020-’21 academic year. So jumping into the new school year being able to learn and spend time on campus is a thrill for both current and incoming students.
“I think it’ll go just fine as long as we at the very least have masks on,” said rising sophomore Omari Collins. “And it should be a lot more ‘normal’ than last year due to there actually being more in-person classes.”
The convenience of things being online these past few semesters was something that many students did enjoy. Bakari said, “During this past year, they appreciated being able to log on their computers for lectures, activities, workshops, including tele-health services from health services and counseling.”
Even so, in-person college life is what many students are eager to experience as we can once again finally come together as a community and show pride in what we stand for as Panthers. This semester, the highly anticipated comeback to campus is sports and teams participating once again in NCAA intercollegiate competition. After not being able to watch our teams play around the country and cheering them on, Panthers will now be able to do this once again. (See page 8 for a preview of this fall.)
Greek life has also been lacking as the pandemic pushed it into a fully online position. Lindsay Bros, president of the Inter Greek Council (IGC), said, “One of my main goals for the fall semester is to strive to have meetings and events in person. With the Covid policies always changing, my council and I want to make sure we are keeping our community safe while also setting times for members of Greek life to be together after such a long time apart.”
It will be a different situation for every club and organization, but the general hope is that the campus will thrive with in-person events once again, including club events. Anna Zinko, assistant dean for Students and Community Engagement, said, “Student organizations can host in-person meetings and events. We expect that they will work closely with the Center for Student and Community Engagement (formerly CSI) to determine any accomodations needed based on current health and safety guidelines. Last year, many student organizations did host their events virtually. We know many of our students enjoyed the experience of connecting virtually and the conveniences it brought, but students are also interested in reconnecting in person. We envision a hybrid approach for the upcoming year.”
She said that during the fall 2021 semester, the same level of engagement and support will be available.
“Students can expect to see hybrid experiences and support services available both in-person and online, and should know the university will continue to value our community's safety and wellbeing in all our decision making,” Zinko said. “We know many of our students enjoyed the experience of connecting virtually and the conveniences it brought, but students are also interested in reconnecting in person.”
This hybrid experience will allow students to indulge in the on-campus events, but also choose to join virtually if it makes them more comfortable.
Although things may still not seem normal for a while we can be assured that Adelphi is doing everything they can to help the community return for a fully in-person experience. We are all doing our best to adjust to this new “normal,” and while it may be overwhelming at times, the more we do our part in getting vaccinated, masking up and social distancing the quicker we can return to more of a pre-pandemic lifestyle not only on campus but society too.