Coronavirus has changed the landscape of lives around the world and the same stands for the students of UWG. On March 16 UWG students found out that they would not be returning to campus for their regular class instructions by order of University Systems of Georgia. Instead, they will be taking all of their courses online. However, this meant a little more for those who lived on campus. They were told that they would not be allowed to stay in their dorms and must gather their things and return home.
On March 25th UWG students were given a mere two hour time slot to grab all of their belongings from their dorms.. Angela Patterson, a UWG student, had her time slot fall later in the day which left her far less people on campus, including the staff.
“The buildings were unlocked when I arrived, and there were no staff members present, meaning it was just a free for all to come and get your things and exit,” said Angela. “My time slot was from 4-6 pm, so it’s possible that since it was so much later in the day that all the staff had left.”
While Angela was free to grab her things as she pleased without much fuss the directions were vague and help from staff was not present. Instead, students were sent in to grab their things and sign out using a digital QR code.
“I could say it was fairly organized, though that depends on your definition of organization, there were no signs telling us what to do, only bins were set up in the lobby and a QR present that sent us to an online google form that allowed us to check out on our mobile devices,” said Angela.
Despite the uncertainty and disappointment that students are being faced with UWG handled the situation the best that it could.
“I think things were handled the best that they could be, given the situation. It’s incredibly disappointing, but I know that it is what USG and UWG and other universities needed to do to protect the public interest,” said Angela. “While it was a bad situation altogether, I believe that the university did all that it could.”
A massive part of UWG is the on-campus experience. Fostering friendships, joining clubs, and being around those on similar educational tracks are reasons UWG has an excellent campus lifestyle, but now students have lost all of that. This is an adjustment that is not easy to make for many as UWG not only provides them with their educational needs but also their social needs.
Angela lives 45 minutes from campus in Newnan, GA, and moving to all online instruction is going to change her life a good deal, from going to class and seeing friends to being cooped up at home.
“All of my friends were at UWG,” said Angela. “Overall, it changes my life pretty drastically, going from being a part of clubs and seeing my friends every day to being stuck at home with just my mom is quite the change and adjustment.”
Students like Angela are not only losing their time with friends but also their classes. One of Angela’s classes, Concert Choir, is hands-on and requires a physical presence, but now those students cannot participate in their regular practice.
“Some classes that I was taking cannot be transferred to online instruction,” said Angela. “For example, my concert choir class was a huge part of my schedule, and cannot be done online because the class is mostly about developing both acapella and singing with accompaniment.”
One of the scariest impacts that COVID-19 has had is the uncertainty it has left in the air. Students who have lost their classes, their dorms and their meal plans are still unsure about how that is being dealt with.
“In regards to how that class is going to be handled, to be honest, I’m not sure. I do have a meal plan, but I haven’t been informed about anything regarding reimbursements,” said Angela. “This is another one [dorms] that I’m not sure about. If we are getting anything back, it hasn’t been discussed with me yet.”
This has been an unprecedented event for UWG staff and students and with nothing certain but uncertainty itself, it must be maneuvered through day by day.