Accepting and coping with the changes on campus


Floor signs reminding students to stay six feet apart can be found in many buildings

Jordann Lopata, SPORTS EDITOR

Coming back to campus this semester, AU students are seeing major changes due to the effects of coronavirus. 

What started out as just a sickness comparable to the flu, has now become something that affects everyday lives. 

Where some students were forced out of rooms, athletics being postponed, majors beginning to be sunsetted, and social distancing kept in place, the fall semester at AU will look very different. 

Residential living on campus has changed in many ways. 

Because of COVID-19 and to try to remain socially distanced, while being safe and clean, no three students are living in any triple rooms. 

Students are also encouraged to wear masks walking through the hallways, and only taking it off when they are in their own rooms. 

As far as living in an apartment, like the Miller Apartments, they have been turned into a designated ‘quarantine’ living space for any student who may test positive for coronavirus. 

Students that applied for housing to live in the Miller Apartments were able to be placed in a dorm, or were given the option to apply and live off campus. 

Senior Nate Gardner talked about being moved from the Miller apartments.

“I’m pretty disappointed, they made us figure out what to do and where to go, he said. “I was looking forward to getting some sense of freedom, it all happened so abruptly.”

Roommate Michael Haley also spoke about being moved into the dorms.

“It’s my senior year, I was looking forward to living in an apartment, we bought a couch and other furniture, but we had to leave it at home because we couldn’t bring it to fit.”

Students are now required to wear masks on campus. 

Student athletes are also seeing major changes in their schedules, with less time spent in practice and no access to the locker rooms of the Troop center. 

The GLIAC conference, as well as other conferences in Ohio and surrounding states, have decided to cancel fall sports because of the risk of athletes getting the virus. 

At Ashland, athletic trainers, coaches and staff are working diligently to make sure that the Troop Center and other athletic facilities are safe for all personell. 

While there are still plans that are unknown, sports teams are allowed to practice with some important safety measures put in place. 

Practices cannot consist of more than 10 people, temperatures are to be taken before practices, and any COVID-19 symptoms must be reported. 

Sophomore football kicker, Anna Sanders, talked about her feelings about the football season being cancelled. 

“It has been really sad that football has been canceled especially for the seniors who don’t get to play,” she said. “For the rest of us, this is the time to hunker down and focus on the little things to get better.”

Sanders talked about practicing, while looking forward to the potential of a future season.

“I have more time to get a good workout in and then go practice kicking field goals and extra points in order to work on my technique during the time off from regularly scheduled practice, she said.” 

Sophomore football starter, Geivonni Washington, also added to hearing the news about a cancelled season.

“It was very devastating when our coach told us that our season was cancelled, but as a team we can turn this negative experience into a positive one, and get better for the future,” he said.

Sophomore running back, Larry Martin, found the positives among Ashland football even in the midst of this delayed season.

“All it does is gives us a chance to get better,” he said. 

The AU Rec Center has implemented new changes to ensure the safety of all who enter.

Many majors are being sunsetted and new students to AU will no longer be able to come here for majors like athletic training, physics, geology, etc. 

Freshmen are able to major in these and others for one last time this fall, and will still be able to complete their degrees. 

Students and faculty have been seeing many important changes on campus as well. 

Masks are required everywhere on campus, as well as noticing the added hand sanitizers all over campus. 

Social distancing has been implemented in the convocation center, and other places on campus, including limiting the amount of people in elevators and multiple markings to keep the proper six feet apart. 

The recreation center is also taking precautions to help with maintaining proper social distancing, and making sure that students and faculty are wearing masks at all times to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

While this might not be ideal, it can be an escape for students who are feeling stuck or stressed because of the changes due to the coronavirus. 

Machines have been spaced out all over the center, allowing for proper distance. 

Dr. Deborah Sullivan, Director of Campus Wellness, spoke on the changes made in the rec center. 

“Our Wellness Student Peer Educators and student rec center employees are encouraged to be positive role models for the campus community,” she said. “As a way to help prevent the spread of infection, the rec center has adapted ways to keep everyone safe so that you can be physically active, no excuses!”

Sullivan understands that it is necessary for students to find ways to cope with the changes that have taken place. 

“We need to take all of the necessary precautions and manage stress to help cope with the many fears that we may have,” she said. “Deep breathing, physical activity, staying connected, and maintaining positive thoughts will relieve stress.” 

Sullivan also added advice for students who may have fears about contracting coronavirus on campus.

“Get help when you need it and download the Ashland Healthy Mind App for great tips and advice,” she said. “Take breaks from technology with short walks or practice mindfulness. Choose behaviors that boost your immune system and help your body fight infection.” 

So, while Coronavirus has caused majors to be sunsetted, rooming placements to change and athletics being cancelled, AU is making the most of it. 

Most schools in Ohio have gone fully online, but AU is persistent in their desire to keep students on campus. 

At the end of the day, the regulations and safety precautions allow students to come back to campus and have a great semester. 

Stronger Together. Safer Together.