Spring semester dorm experience shaped by Covid restrictions

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Melissa Ledezma

SNU Senior Samuel Michael feels safe living on campus.

Miranda Jacobson, Editor

Sierra Nevada University welcomed students back on campus on Feb. 10 after starting the spring semester with two weeks of virtual classes. Both returning and new students began to walk the halls of the dorms with mixed reviews from many.

Freshman Nove Kime from Cleveland, Ohio, came to SNU hoping for a fresh start in the middle of a pandemic that has forced the campus to make drastic strides away from the traditional campus experience.

“Honestly, I don’t know any other kind of college experience,” said Kime. “Regulations seem like standard to me.”

The regulations, located on SNU’s website, outline the various procedures and protocols that students, faculty, and staff must adhere to, including wearing a mask on campus, following Nevada state and university social distancing guidelines, and a strict no guest policy on campus.

Junior Samuel Michael lived in the dorms prior to the new COVID regulations, and while the experience can be restrictive in some ways, he feels he is safe on campus.

“I think they’re totally fair,” he said. “It makes sense if I’m able to do the fun stuff with my friends and events with other residents and see Tahoe in its glory. So I think it’s a good way of handling the situation.”

Michael finds that wearing masks in required areas, along with social distancing in the classrooms, is working to keep the environment safe, and the frustration lies more with the country as a whole.

“Most of the time when I’m talking with students, we don’t’ talk about COVID or the regulations,” he said. “I think everyone is annoyed with the situation, not because of the school, but because of the situation the world is in.”

Dean of Student Affairs and Housing Lizzie Thibodeau agrees that while COVID has affected the living situation on campus, it also has affected all of us as individuals and how students interact with each other.

“None of us have lived through a pandemic and it tested us all in different ways,” she said.  “Our main goal at SNU is to keep everyone safe. All of the staff and faculty have academic and life experience to do our jobs effectively. But COVID 19 was a huge question mark. We have learned a lot in the last year and our team has tried really hard to implement social aspects this semester to help enhance the overall experience.”

Thibodeau explained that SNU is just adapting to a wider set of regulations placed on the entire country, and it’s important for everyone to do their part.

“The most important thing is to have students follow the COVID policies. Masks up,” she said.  “The [COVID] committee is seeing that wearing your mask (properly) has kept a great number of people on campus safe and healthy.”

But Thibodeau is adamant about making sure students think of others during this time of transition as students return to campus.

“What I try to instill is, this is hard for everyone, but please remember to be kind as we don’t always know what someone else is going through.”