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Opening Dorms

Resident students react to plans to help ensure a safe fall semester on campus

Like many college students in the age of COVID-19, Tyler Czyras, ’22, wasn’t sure if he was going to live on campus this fall. However, after researching all Bridgewater State University is doing to ensure the safety of students, he decided living in a residence hall is right for him.

“One of the main reasons for my decision is that Bridgewater made me feel safe, there has been total transparency and constant communication in terms of students returning to campus safely,” he said.

During the pandemic, the school’s top priority has been making sure students, faculty and staff are safe. For months members of a Safe Return Task Force worked together to create the  Fall 2020 Safe Return Plan

According to the plan, all residence halls will be open, but triple and quad living have been eliminated: only single and double occupancy are allowed. Physical and social distancing standards are in place, even in restrooms, and space has been created for isolation/quarantine, should that be necessary for any students.

Resident students will be tested for COVID-19 upon arriving at BSU for move-in days and every two weeks thereafter.

When Tyler heard about the testing, he considered staying at his parent’s home in Canton, but when he found out it wasn’t that invasive, it quelled his fears.

“Not a lot of people were excited about the testing, it was a determining factor for many, but once I found out it is a quick nasal swab, I felt okay with it,” he said.

Students also questioned if they wanted to live on campus despite the fact that most classes will be taught online.

“Even if I’m learning online on campus, it’s still a better learning environment for me,” Tyler said. “Silence is not guaranteed at my house, so being on campus where I can study in a dorm, common room, or the library is definitely beneficial for me.”

He understands that not everyone is ready to be back living on campus, including his best friend and former roommate who will study from home this semester.

“It’s really up to each person individually. Everyone has to figure out what works best for them,” he said.

Tyler is also volunteering to serve as a peer-to-peer student influencer this fall and will work with other student influencers to encourage members of the campus community to wear masks and take other precautions to help ensure the campus remains safe.

“When we go back to campus, it will obviously look very different,” he said. “But, as President Clark has said, ‘We’ve got this.’ It’s about having the will and the grit to get through it, and we as Bears have the will and grit to get through it.”

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