There's a lot of information floating around at Penn State, and I know at this point everyone just wants clear, definite answers. Unfortunately, I only have more questions for you.
1. How likely is it that we'll return to campus for spring semester?
As of right now, the plan is to not return to campus after Thanksgiving, but to come back when spring semester picks up. But with students moving to campus from all across the globe, the petri-dish like environment leads me to wonder what the likelihood of that return happening is.
2. Are students going to be refunded for facilities they won't be able to use?
There has been a lot of speculation about tuition, room and board, and fees being partially refunded, but there hasn't been a definite answer from Penn State. Will students end up paying fees for facilities that will be closed all semester? For example, if the gyms close, will students still pay full tuition fees?
3. What are clubs and other extracurriculars going to look like?
Say hello to virtual chess club.
4. What's the plan for when a student tests positive?
It's bound to happen, so I'm curious as to what the planned response is. Will the student's whole floor be quarantined? What about their in-person classmates and teachers?
5. And what about a professor testing positive?
If a professor has to take sick leave after contracting COVID-19, who will take over for them? How will the university support them?
6. Will COVID-19 testing be available on campus?
I'm hoping that regular testing is encouraged and made financially accessible to students to prevent an outbreak from happening.
7. How does Penn State plan on enforcing the no dorm guests rule?
Will there be a security guard at each dorm entrance to ensure only residents are entering?
8. How will Penn State go about prohibiting large parties?
With Tulane announcing that they will suspend students for hosting parties, students are left wondering if Penn State will follow in their footsteps.
9. How will Penn State support international students if campus closes?
When school shut down this past semester and students were forced to leave their dorms, some international students had nowhere to go. Universities obviously hadn't planned for that, so this time around I hope they will be able to better support these students.
10. When will online classes switch back to a classroom setting?
I'm sure the university doesn't know the answer to this yet, but I'm just curious as to whether more classes will be in person this spring.
All in all, I am happy that I have the opportunity to live on campus for my first semester at Penn State. But I also realize that campus will be a risky environment, and I'm sincerely hoping that school administration is ready to handle a possible disaster!