Harper students face new rules and restrictions on campus in response to pandemic

Harper+student+and+staff+volunteers+sit+at+tables+to+check+students%27+temperatures.+Photo+by+Adriana+Briscoe.

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

This fall Harper College canceled all in-person classes, adapting to a fully remote and online curriculum in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Strict new protocols limit access to the campus for the majority of students, faculty and staff.  

Some exceptions include certain necessary lab requirements and manufacturing classes which require students to be on campus.  In those cases, classroom capacities are limited to 10 people, including the instructor stated Environmental Health and Safety manager Sara Gibson.

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., on October 10, 2020. Photo by Adriana Briscoe.

In addition, anyone who enters the building must sanitize their hands at the sanitizing dispenser that sits at the entrance, present their IDs for scanning, answer health questions related to COVID-19 and get their temperature checked.

Additionally, while walking through the building, everyone must wear masks at all times and practice social distancing. 

“One way traffic” markers on the floor in the halls indicate which way persons should be walking in order to best distance themselves from others. The stairwell in the “Z” building is a one-way stairwell, which 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. Elevators only allow one person at a time.

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

Request for printing can be made by placing an order online, Gibson added.  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 this process, they will receive an email informing them on the details of order pickup. 

Students can find more information on Harper’s COVID-19 measures by going to the Harper College Advisory page: Harper College Advisory .

Director of Communications Kim Pohl, said Harper’s social media pages offer information about campus guidelines, and students have received multiple emails outlining campus safety procedures.

While most understand that the safety protocols are necessary, students said the adjustments have been difficult and problematic.

When sophomore nursing students Alex Vendel and Colin Egam stepped onto campus for their first lab this semester, they faced a clear change in their surroundings. One described it as “stressful” and the other as “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.”

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 by  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 have 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.

Student Elizabeth Garre, who is taking a chemistry class on campus–said she is also thankful for being able to have an in-person class. 

“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, students have had  to adapt to this new learning environment, which is predicted to last through the spring 2021 semester.

Garre said she is mentally prepared. 

“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.”