Back to School May Include Forms, Training, Tests for College Students This Fall

“This is all about helping to ensure that the experience that those students have is as low risk and as seamless as possible,” WPI's assistant dean of students said

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College students returning to campus this fall will need to do a bit more preparation than packing and planning out their course load.

They may need to fill out new medical forms, undergo online training and be tested for the new coronavirus before they can get back on campus, like students at Worcester Polytechnic Insitute will.

“I got COVID tested yesterday and then they go through a whole questionnaire with us, and then they don’t let us back on until our test comes back negative,” said student Cody Barlow.

College student Hala Asfoura added, “They have to do it to be able to go to class, it’s not up to like each person individually.”

At WPI in Worcester, they’ve created a Return to Campus Student Checklist to try to make sure students know exactly what they need to do and when they need to complete it by to be able to get back on campus.

When students return to college, campus will look a lot different.

“This is all about helping to ensure that the experience that those students have is as low risk and as seamless as possible,” WPI Assistant Dean of Students Emily Perlow said.

The checklist is different for students based on whether they plan to live on-campus or off and if they’re coming from what Massachusetts has deemed a lower-risk or higher-risk state, or internationally.

“We’re tracking a number of different data points with each of these different steps that we’re asking students to complete, so we’re working right now to build a dashboard that will allow us to sort of one stop shop be able to tell every step that a student’s completed,” Perlow said.

An education research and policy think tank in Boston has created a blueprint for reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

One key component will be a negative COVID test prior to arriving on campus, or being tested on campus and then quarantining for roughly 48 hours before getting their results.

“We want to set students up for success, that we’ll be following up with students that haven’t yet complied, both with students and with their families to help make sure that they’re ready to return and they’ve completed all the necessary steps before they get here,” Perlow said.

The school says, don’t procrastinate, you need to get the first step completed by signing those medical forms by Friday. 

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