By Courtney Koebel
COVID-19 has changed campuses around the country. Some going to virtual learning and some still attending in person classes. The Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine has given universities the freedom to create their own COVID-19 response and only required them to report their cases to the students and community members through a dashboard online. Each dashboard is different and as cases are on the rise they have become important information for students and faculty.
Many have been looking across Ohio to see how each school has responded to COVID-19. The numbers vary based on the size of the school and what cities and towns they are near. The University of Toledo (UT) is a public university located in one of Ohio’s major cities. University of Findlay (UF) is a private university located in a smaller Ohio city. The two cities populations vary by over 200,000 people. Both universities decided to bring students back for in person classes for the Fall semester.
Many students were eager and ready to come back to campus after they were sent home during the Spring semester. Paige Steyer, a UF Junior was ready for the return to campus and only had a few worries.
“The only concern is that I don’t know how careful or smart the other people are being around me,” Steyer said, “But Findlay’s requirements of mask wearing and other things like sanitation stations definitely make me feel more comfortable.”
Professors at both universities are doing their best to accommodate for students health and their own. Katie Brown a Senior at UT only had a few schedule changes due to COVID-19.
“I have one class that was supposed to be in person and more hands on,” Brown said, “That moved to totally virtual. Another one of my classes has a hybrid style where we can tune in virtually if there is an emergency.”
Each university has a dashboard that is utilized to inform students of new cases and precautions the university is taking. UT dashboard and the UF dashboard use very different language. For example, UF uses words like, “Positive Active Cases” and “Cumulative Results”. Then on UT’s dashboard they use words like, “New Positive Cases” and they do not have a section for active cases. Where UF students can see the total active cases, UT students are left wondering what the true grand total is.
UT’s version has created confusion among many UT students. There is also confusion on what the quarantine process is if you come into contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19. Brown came into contact with someone who had COVID-19 and did not receive any emails from the university or the Lucas County Health Department. She felt she had to take it into her own hands to quarantine and get tested.
“I would look into more contact tracing because I know many people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive, but then did not follow proper guidelines to protect themselves,” Brown said regarding UT’s quarantine and isolation process.
Brown hopes this can help with controlling the spread amongst people at UT and in the Toledo community. On the other hand, Steyer at UF has a positive outlook for Spring 2021 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I expect next semester to look relatively similar to this one for the students at Findlay,” Steyer said, “I know that the people in positions of power and leadership here are doing everything they can to keep us in person.”
Each university has approached the COVID-19 pandemic differently. Students at UF are seeing more contact tracing regarding their quarantine process, where as UT students have been left confused on what to do if they need to be quarantined. UT students are also left in the dark on the actual amount of COVID-19 cases they have and how many students and faculty are in quarantine. Controlling students at a bigger public university may be more of challenge than at a smaller private university.
UT’s President, Dr. Gregory Postal has asked for the students’ help in controlling the virus.
“I am asking you to remain vigilant in wearing a face covering, washing your hands often and keeping your distance from others when possible. This is even more important if you plan to head home for winter break,” Postal said.
That’s a similar message heard at every university.