The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in almost every way, and that includes education. For example, in the dorms at Arizona Western College, residents and staff alike live with new restrictions.
Mejia, 19, is a second-year student who has experienced the before and after of the dorms as relates to COVID-19.
“The dorms changed a lot since they closed the recreational areas like lobbies and the game room,” Mejia said. “It’s weird to be just in your own room and doing your homework with limitation on how many persons can be at your room at the same time.”
Students in the College Assistant Migrant Program (CAMP), like Moises Arambula, 21, were affected because many activities they used to have throughout the semester have been cancelled.
“Since we cannot have activities such as karaoke nights and scavenger hunts, we just moved everything to an online format, and that makes everything kind of weird,” Arambula said. “However, we have to maintain a good attitude.”
Margoth Soto Chavira, 21, works as a Resident Assistant (RA) at the Garces Hall dorm, assisting dorm residents with questions or other concerns. She also manages activities in order to have an thriving community at the dorms, but because of COVID this role has changed.
“Dorms have become more discouraging for residents,” said Soto. “We can’t do group activities, and each one lives in isolation with minimal contact.”
But students keep forgetting about the added restrictions, and telling the residents about their responsibilities is a daily struggle for the RAs.
“The most difficult thing is to continue remembering which are our responsibilities during the pandemic, such as wearing a facemask and maintain a six-foot distance,” said Soto.
Tony C. Mitchell, Jr., 48, oversees the Garces Hall dorm, maintaining control, reporting on its current situation and communicating changes to residents.
“The immediate change in the residence halls has been the diminished capacity,” Mitchell said. “The numbers are uncommonly low, as a vast majority of the athletes will check in in January for the next semester.”
“The most drastic change I believe would be the no-visitation policy,” said Mitchell. “This goes for non-residents coming to the buildings to visit, and non-visitation between the Kino and Garces.”
Further policy changes for next semester are underway but for the moment are not being publicized. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see what will change and what will stay the same.