Receptionists learn procedures on receiving patients. (Photo courtesy of Shimin Zhang)

Undergrads adjust to online curricula, dorm closures as COVID-19 spreads

Due to concerns about coronavirus, many schools and universities are switching to online classes. 

Stanford University has moved to online classes until the end of the school year, and the University of California, Davis and the University of California, Berkeley began the transition. 

There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Cal as of March 13, according to the school’s website, but Mohini Rye, ’19, said her classes have gone online.

“The plan right now is to have classes be online until spring break, but it’s likely to be extended past that,” said Rye, who returned home on March 11. “Cal isn’t shut down, but the dorms are sending out forms to see who is staying and who is planning on leaving.”

Stanford reported three confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 11, according to its website.

Jack Christian, ’19, said Stanford initially didn’t want students to leave campus but later changed its view. 

“Stanford was pushing students to stay on campus,” Christian said. “Students still left regardless, and now Stanford has switched the whole last quarter, as well as finals, to online only. They even have office hours online by using a Zoom conference call where students can type in their questions for the professor.” 

Christian added general hygiene around campus has improved drastically. 

“Lots of students are sanitizing extra well, and the cleaning staff is in overdrive,” Christian said. “As I was leaving, the cleaning staff was going up and down hallways, wiping door handles and spraying disinfectant.” 

Rye said Cal students are also taking extra health precautions.

“Lots of students would go to classes wearing masks,” Rye said. “In the dining halls, they are pre-wrapping all the meals.”

Yanele Ledesma, ’19, said students at UC Davis are reacting similarly, though there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus, according to the school’s website.

“Lots of students have been wearing masks and gloves to classes,” Ledesma said. “But regardless, Davis is kind of leaving it up to the professors and students for how to handle it. Some professors have either canceled lectures or posted them online with detailed notes, and some students have decided to go home.” 

Ledesma had not left UC Davis as of March 13.

Overall, the students said they are less than thrilled to take online classes and go home early. 

“Everyone I know is disappointed we have to go home early,” Christian said. “We were all looking forward to spending the spring quarter with nice weather on campus, and maybe even taking a lighter course load.”

Ledesma said online classes are much harder than in-person classes. 

“Online classes take a lot more discipline,” Ledesma said.

Christian seconded this notion, adding he is more of an in-person learner. 

“There is a certain energy at Stanford that helps motivate students to work hard compared to being at home,” he said.

Originally published in the March 17 edition of the Octagon.

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