Students Return to a Socially Distanced Campus

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By Dylan Valic, Editor-In-Chief

After nearly seven months of virtual learning, students were able to return to campus for the start of the fall 2020 semester. 

New safety precautions have been implemented to ensure that students can return to campus, while mitigating the chances of spreading COVID-19. Areas on campus such as Hillwood Commons and the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library have seen substantial changes in their appearance and operating capacity.  

Hillwood Commons, an area known for being a popular social spot on campus, has new limitations in place. A maximum of two students are allowed at a table at one time. This has been accompanied with protective screens at all food stations in order to prevent students and faculty from interacting face to face.

The library’s computer area has been removed, and made into a makeshift classroom. Students who need to print out materials can do so in the Career Bar on the second floor of Hillwood Commons, which features the same amenities as the original computer area.

These renovations have been accompanied by campus wide changes, such as all students being required to wear face coverings when it is not possible to social distance and requiring that anyone who enters campus complete an online “COVID-19 Self-Check,” according to the student reopening FAQ.   

The university’s reopening plan was created to ensure the safety of the campus community, according to Executive Dean of Students Michael Berthel. 

“The University has worked closely with local health officials to develop a reopening plan that exceeds CDC and state guidelines,” Berthel said. “Many measures have been put into place throughout campus that are designed to promote social distancing and allow students to freely move around campus in a safe and healthy way. Some of this include, floor and wall signage, additional hand sanitizers and touchless fixtures, removal of furniture and social distancing of spaces, and enhanced cleaning.”

Some students, such as freshman health sciences major Victor Nelson, have found the transition to a new style of campus initially jarring.

“It’s definitely weird coming from a different school and going to a whole other state, and having to go to school among a lot of people with masks on, but I think I’m kind of adapting to it,” Nelson said. 

Other students, such as sophomore acting major Nick Humphries, have been able to find educational opportunities within the new restrictions.

“As somebody who is looking into being an artist it’s good to work through times where everything is turbulent and being tossed around and situations are fluid,” he said.
“Because it helps you be ready for any situation that could arise, so that you’ll always be in the moment and be prepared.”

Berthel believes that it is the responsibility of every member of the campus community to help keep the campus safe.

“Each of us will have a personal responsibility to ourselves and our community members to protect each other and keep LIU healthy. We’re counting on everyone to step up and be part of the solution,” Berthel said. “I am confident that if everyone follows the social distancing guidelines and cares about one another that we will have a successful semester on campus.”


Students wanting to learn more about the campus’s new guidelines and restrictions can visit https://liu.edu/reopening-liu/student-faqs for more information.

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