Harper Students Face New Rules and Restrictions on Campus in Midst of Pandemic


Harper student and staff volunteers sit at tables to check students’ temperatures. Photo courtesy of Adriana Briscoe.

When sophomore nursing students Alex Vendel and Colin Egam stepped onto campus for their first lab this semester, they faced a change that both of them described as “stressful and empty.”


“It was a different feeling because you walk in the doors, and then there’s a row of people who have to screen you,” Egam said. “And your time is limited so you kind of have to make the most of it as well.” 


As Harper College has moved into an entirely online format for the fall semester, — except for lab and manufacturing classes — changes in protocols and student capacity for classes on campus have taken place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.


According to Campus Event Operations Supervisor Dana Tenenbaum, students must follow a specific set of procedures to enter campus. They must enter through either Avanté (Buildings X, Y and Z), Building H, Building A or Building M

Harper seating blocked off in the midst of COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Adriana Briscoe.

In addition, they must sanitize their hands at the sanitizing dispenser that sits in front of them when they first walk in, present their IDs for scanning, answer health questions related to COVID-19 and get their temperature checked.


Students can only enter to participate in labs that they signed up for ahead of time, and they can pick up books and printing orders using the curbside pickup.


According to Environmental Health and Safety manager Sara Gibson, students can make a request to print by placing an order online. To do this, they must login to Publishing Services using their Harper login information, upload the file(s) they want to print and answer the prompts that the system gives them. Once they finish that, they will receive an email telling them when they can pick up their file(s).


While walking through the building, all students must wear masks at all times and practice social distancing. 


“One Way Traffic” markers on the floor in the halls indicate which way students should be walking in order to best distance themselves from other students, and the stairwell in the Z building is a one-way stairwell. This means that if a student is going downstairs, they must wait for anyone coming upstairs before they can proceed and vice versa.


In the bathrooms, every other bathroom stall is blocked off. Additionally, elevators only allow one person at a time.


According to Director of Communications Kim Pohl, students can find information on Harper’s COVID-19 measures by going to the Harper College Advisory page: Harper College Advisory 


In addition, Pohl says that Harper’s social media pages offer information about campus guidelines, and students have received multiple emails outlining campus safety procedures.


Furthermore, all classes have a maximum capacity of 10 people including the instructor, according to Gibson. Sophomore nursing student Cindy Agama’s lab class has a limit of eight students, and she feels that this capacity limit is inconvenient.

Social distancing markers are placed throughout Harper’s campus. Photo courtesy of Adriana Briscoe.

“I only need four [required lab hours], but even with that four, I’m struggling to get a time slot in,” Agama said. “And I’m thinking if I can’t, I get to take a day off from work to get that lab hour.”


Another inconvenience Agama has encountered is limited access to facilities in the school. 


She noted that she doesn’t have access to a computer or a printer at home, and she feels that students should be granted permission to use these tools as long as they take the same precautions that are used in the rest of the building and wipe down the computers and printers after using them. 


Although Agama has experienced difficulties with getting lab hours and receiving access to facilities, having a class on campus is beneficial for her when it comes to receiving help and reminders of upcoming due dates from classmates.


Another perk of having face-to-face classes during this time is quality academic help, according to sophomore Elizabeth Garre, who is taking a chemistry class on campus.


“I feel like one pro is you at least get to have a little face-to-face time with the teacher,” Garre said. “You can ask them all the questions you have that are harder to answer on email.” 


Throughout these unprecedented times, Harper students have had to learn to adapt to this new learning environment, as Garre can attest.


“It’s kind of shown me that life still goes on,” Garre said. “No matter if we have a pandemic, we still have to go to college and get through this.”


*This piece incorectly stated that there was only one entrance at Harper during this time, bathrooms can only have one person at a time, and students can go into Harper to pick up books and printing orders. A revision was made on 11/01/2020.