Since our lives were uprooted nearly two months ago, we’ve all settled into different places, time zones and sleep schedules. Despite all these differences, I think we can all agree on one thing: we miss campus. Fall term can’t come fast enough.
While we’re itching to get back to campus, it’s likely that we won’t be returning to “business as usual.” Social distancing seems like something that’s here to stay for a while, which means that some of the things we used to do won’t be the same. Hopefully, some of our favorite parts may stay the same. In order to safely allow students back on campus (regardless of any precautionary measures), widespread rapid testing and adequate isolation rooms must be put in place. That said, here’s a look at what some Drexel landmarks might look like in a socially-distant world:
Dorms: Living spaces at colleges have been in contention over the last few days after the President of Brown University mentioned that traditional shared dorms and bathrooms will not be adequate. Already facing a shortage of dorms, Drexel may not have enough space to house students in singles, which would mean hotel rooms or makeshift dorms. Signing in guests is another privilege that may be debated as school reopens. We could see a policy where guests must have been tested in the past two weeks and remained asymptomatic to be admitted to a residence hall.
Dining Halls: The Handschumacher Dining Center and Urban Eatery are the two main dining halls at Drexel. There are several changes that probably should have been made a while ago to the dining halls. The first change is to the Hans model of buffet-style food service, where food is left in the open air for long periods of time. Getting rid of Hans entirely is unlikely, but the food may be prepackaged in the future. In an ideal world, there would be increased sanitary regulations, but that is unlikely to happen. Urban Eatery will likely stop serving salads and smoothies buffet-style, too.
Lectures: A shared armrest is all that separates a person from their neighbor. At the very least, students may be required to sit multiple seats away from each other to reduce density. However, this would mean that lecture capacity would decrease, calling for an increase in the number of sections. To combat adding more classes, professors may opt to post their lectures online for remote viewing.
Parties: Fraternity parties seem to be a quintessential part of the college experience, and unless the administration can officially stop them, it’s unlikely the dingy basement vibe will change much.
Food Trucks: The food trucks on campus make the Drexel food scene vibrant and lively. As long as social distancing guidelines and sanitation rules are followed, there’s no reason why food trucks should be driven off campus, since they follow a takeout model anyway.
The DAC: Gyms are places where the coronavirus would be likely to spread, since there are people breathing heavily in enclosed, high-traffic areas. Group exercise is also a popular amenity of the DAC that involves dense populations. As a result, we may see a sign-up system for entering the gym area in order to limit the number of people working out at a given time.
It may become a requirement for equipment to be wiped down after each use, which was previously just a recommendation. Group exercise may be discontinued or significantly reduced in size, as well. Regardless, if our campus is functional, the DAC is likely to be open as well, since it generates revenue for Drexel.
The Quad and Volleyball Courts: We may be unable to sit in a six-foot radius of another person, or we may be barred from using those places as socialization spots altogether.
Though Drexel is looking to re-open in the fall, there will almost certainly be changes to the normal way of living.