What Will Campus Look Like Next Semester?

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Spring semester, especially with the recent spike in Covid-19 cases. This isn’t just a concern on Hawk Hill, but pretty much everywhere across the nation. Philadelphia recently put in place new guidelines for the health and safety of the public which includes the closing of indoor dining, banning any indoor gathering with more than one household, and moving all schools fully online. St. Joe’s adjusted to these restrictions, making updates that you can find here.

Photo From SJU Safe

The Philadelphia guidelines are supposed to end by the time Spring semester rolls around, but it is unknown how much the current situation will be improved. If it is still too risky, it is likely that we will have an online semester, but, there is still hope that we will be back on Hawk Hill taking in person classes.

What We Know Now

St. Joe’s has a plan laid out that ensures the safety of the students, regardless of the unknown and changing environment. According to the newest Health and Safety Plan, next semester will be very similar to this one. It states that students will be back on campus by January 19th, but 14 day quarantine is required. Classes that are scheduled to be completely online will remain that way but the university is planning for most classes to have different teaching formats like hybrid, hyflex and face-to-face to encourage in-person learning. There will be Reading Days in February and March, just like the two we’ve had this semester. As for getting tested for Covid, a working group has been formed specifically for establishing different programs for on-arrival testing and testing throughout the semester. They are also looking into the Covid Alert PA App which will alert you if you have potentially come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. You can look into the plan more thoroughly here.

Photo: ABC7 New York

Staying Up To Date

Over break, it is tempting as a student to ignore emails and completely detach from school. While relaxing and spending time with family, make sure that from now until the beginning of the new semester to keep up with school emails, as they will be as crucial as they were in the beginning. The plan will become more clear with these updates and it is our responsibility as students to know what is going on. Something else to keep in mind is to check updates on the Philadelphia restrictions. These heavily influence the decisions St. Joe’s will make.

If the second semester looks exactly like the first, we should consider ourselves lucky in light of this pandemic. Many colleges in Pennsylvania and around the country were completely virtual this semester and already decided to go completely virtual for the Spring semester. St. Joe’s however, knows that many students prefer to be on campus, and they are committed to keeping things as normal as possible while also ensuring our safety. Though it may be subject to change, we can keep the positive mindset that if all goes well these next few months, we’ll be right back in the classroom, learning face to face.