UMass Amherst Is Letting Kids Live In The Dorms This Fall Even Though All Classes Will Be Done Remotely

Source - UMass Amherst students will have the option of living on campus or at home as nearly all of the university’s courses will be taught remotely this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s flagship campus announced on Monday.

“Students who choose to attend UMass Amherst do so not only for the quality of the faculty and the academic programs, but also for the immersive experience, which offers opportunities for enrichment that can be undertaken with a diverse group of peers,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a statement.

“As best we can — and there are severe limitations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — we will strive to sustain the community connections that represent UMass at its best,” the chancellor added.

Subbaswamy said, “It is important to understand that life on campus will not be anything resembling normal college life.”

Alright so you have two ways of thinking about this. The first is that this is a great thing and that by not holding in person classes it will help prevent the spread of COVID, which it will. The second is that is by giving students the option to live on campus, UMass is slowing the progress they would've made had they closed the campus completely, which they are. Don't get me wrong I get it, room and board dollars are incredibly valuable to a universities bottom line, but they probably should just rip the band aid and either completely close or completely open. What we've learned is that half measures rarely work with corona and all it takes is one person being an idiot to fuck things up. 

Here's the plan: 

Students on campus will be required to follow: strict physical distancing, wearing face coverings outside personal living spaces, limiting social contacts to a minimal number of people per day, the prohibition of guests in residence halls, subjecting themselves to virus testing on demand, daily self-monitoring and reporting, assisting with contact tracing, and limiting travel away from the immediate campus area for work and/or emergencies only.

A majority of the fall curriculum will be fully remote, with only essential labs, studios, performance and hands-on courses offered in-person. Some students who live on campus may have a fully remote curriculum.

So it seems like some students will have the ability to go to class if it's absolutely necessary, but again, rip the band aid or don't. Having said that if I'm a student I'm thrilled. How great would it be to go to college without having to go to class? Yeah you'll technically "remote learn" but not really. All that means is turning on zoom and getting on with your day. You can drink, smoke, fuck, do whatever you want as long as you're logged into zoom. What are they going to do? Monitor every screen in a class of 300? I highly doubt it. 

It'll be interesting to see how many kids go back and how their plan impacts infection rates. I guess we'll know by the spring semester. Now here's a video of one of my favorite parties I went to while I was at UMass back when Four Loko originals were legal and bootcut jeans were considered fashionable. Holy shit am I old. Enjoy.