‘It’s just very shocking’: Fall reopening plan sparks questions about campus life

Incoming and returning students react to the social distancing measures included in Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

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NaTavia Williams, Contributing Writer

Like many first year students, Nairah Dawson planned to live on campus and navigate the ins-and-outs of dorm life. But instead of eating breakfast with her roommate, she’ ll be commuting from Prince George’s County five days a week. 

Freshman year is branded as the year of new beginnings with chances of self-discovery, meeting life long friends, and having fun. 

After COVID-19 brought the class of 2020’s senior year to a halt and the university implemented online learning for the remainder of the spring semester, it was unknown whether incoming students would receive the traditional first year experience.

Dawson, like many incoming college students, never expected that her initial college experience would be shaped by a global pandemic.

“It’s just very shocking,” Dawson said.

The decision to cut on campus housing by 31 percent left her questioning what her living situation would look like in the fall. 

If she can’t attend campus festivities like Homecoming, then she doesn’t see a point in coming on campus.

“If I can’t get all of that I might as well stay home,” Dawson said.  

However, returning students, particularly athletes, are willing to make the sacrifice.

Senior marketing major Mykaela Ross is a member of the university volleyball team and she’s ready for whatever the season may look like. 

As part of phase two of the reopening plan, 60 athletes from various sports will return to campus for voluntary workouts starting July 13.

The Campus Reopening & Readiness/Preparedness Committee’s fall 2020 reopening plan will bring the Morgan State community back on campus in five phases. 

The plan began with the university’s Physical Plant staff who returned to campus June 8 and will progress with the return of athletics, regular staff and faculty. According to the university’s website, students are set to return on Sept. 7. The beginning of the academic school year is typically around the last week of August.  

Students have the options of face to face, remote, and hybrid instruction. However, it does not specify which student life festivities will remain for the upcoming semester. At this time it is unknown what capacity athletics, student engagement activities and campus life will look like on campus. 

“The hunger to bring home a championship is embedded within our team’s core, and we will do all the necessary [steps] to prepare for this upcoming season no matter what changes may come our way,” Ross explained. 

Aside from athletics and housing concerns, annual anticipated events like the fall coronation, a celebratory event which formally introduces the royal court for the academic year, is another tradition that students are concerned will be altered. 

Reality Anderson, the 76th Miss Morgan State University elect and strategic communication major, said she is trying to prepare for a reign the university has never seen before. 

“Our school has always been innovative especially when responding to crisis,” Anderson said.