How could Calvin’s campus look in the fall? Public health profs make predictions based on COVID-19

Calvin’s campus could look different in the fall, said public health professors Erica Boldenow and Kristen Alford. Because there are not projections for how COVID-19 will continue to spread by September, there is no way to know how different the campus will look. Alford said there could be changes in how we move through campus. How students are taught could change too. 

Boldenow is hopeful that educators  in higher education will be more nimble and able to use the resources gained to assist students in the future. Sick students could receive recorded lectures rather than relying on class notes from a fellow student. 

Physical changes in numbers of students could also be a possibility, according to Alford, due to financial situations and current high school seniors across the U.S. changing their plans of attending a four-year university, but there is no way to tell. A resource cited by Alford said 1 in 6 high school seniors are changing their previous plans. 

The virus’s multifaceted impact could also impact Calvin now and in the future. “While the virus itself doesn’t discriminate, the way that we approach or think about the virus and the systems we build and the processes we have do discriminate,” said Alford. Alford and Boldenow acknowledge inequality in our health system as African-Americans have seen higher rates of COVID-19 impact. Racism is also an element of COVID-19 that has not escaped Calvin’s campus, said Boldenow.

Boldenow and Alford remained hopeful that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic will bring better solutions to living together as a community. Alford noted, “I hope it will help us listen to people — to be attuned to their needs. I hope it helps us be better in terms of supporting one another and being in community, and helping people develop healthy coping mechanisms.”