In College, Football is All That Matters

Big 10 football is back The Big 10 has reversed course and has unpostponed the season. Football will start next month. Hey say they are able to do this because of improvement in testing. They will be able to test players every day with the quick tests and isolate the positives to slow the spread. I love football. I will enjoy watching Kentucky football when it starts next week. I do have questions, though.

My daughter is at a Big 10 school. She lives in an apartment near campus. I wrote about her college and coronavirus here. Every student had to be tested before arriving. They were also required to be tested again once they arrived. After that it was a couple of weeks before they were tested again. My daughter was tested again yesterday. Meantime, in person classes started.

My questions

– why is it OK for the football players to have access to daily testing while the students on campus get tested every couple of weeks?

– why is it OK for the football players to have access to quick tests when the rest of the students have to wait several days for results?

– at my daughter’s school they are telling them they should go home to isolate if they test positive. Will the same hold true for players or will they get special isolation housing with daily access to university health care?

– are we done pretending college sports is really college sports?

– will colleges be more likely to shut down campus to give football a bubble?

The pandemic and the response really highlights what we see as important. Football obviously trumps education in this case.

College and Corona

There is a lot in the news about colleges and corona. Campuses that have had large outbreaks and have sent students home. Colleges that have suspended in person learning. Colleges that are doing OK so far(not that they make the news). Debate about sending students home once there is an outbreak. I agree with Dr Fauci on that one. It makes no sense to send students back to multiple communities to spread the virus. It seems better to keep them on isolated on campus. I thought that was what my daughter’s school was doing until yesterday.

My daughter’s school has a Covid dashboard and one number they report is quarantine and isolation housing numbers. I had heard one story of someone who was possible exposed and was quarantining in an on campus apartment. It seemed like they were not sending them home. Then, yesterday, we received an email from the university with information on Covid procedures. In the letter it says that students who test positive should isolate at their permanent address unless there are extenuating It says the same for people who need to quarantine for contact with someone with Covid. So, her school has decided it makes sense to bring all the students to campus and then, once they get Covid or are exposed to Covid, send them off to their homes to infect their families. Smart move.

They also said this also pertains to students in off campus housing unless the University Health Center decides they are allowed to quarantine in place. I’m confused about how they think they have control over this. If a student is paying rent in a place not owned by the university how does the university get to decide if they an quarantine there? I have noticed that they seem to treat the apartments where my daughter lives like it is on campus housing. I guess because it is right across the street from campus and is basically all student residents. Still, I’m not sure how they can tell someone to vacate while they are still obligated to pay rent to a private company. I feel some lawsuits coming.

So, I guess if my daughter comes into contact with someone with Covid it will mean that I will also be in quarantine since I will have to drive her home and she will be in the same house as me.

Funny how we all say follow the science until the science says keep the students there and then we ignore it.

Yet Another School Update

auditorium benches chairs class
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I claimed I was going to back off from writing about my life so much, but this is another update to the posts School Limbo and School Update.

In the last school posts, my daughter’s on-campus housing was canceled and we scrambled to find her a place to live near campus. Campus is within commuting distance, but she really didn’t want to keep doing online school at home with her parents. It turns out the scrambling on the day housing was canceled was not that necessary. Her school announced that most classes would remain online for the fall semester. Only around 20% would be in person. My daughter is the only one in her friend group that had one class scheduled to be in person. Once people found out their classes would be online plenty of options came along for living near or on campus as students were now trying to get rid of leases to stay at home.  Many students are mad that they are not being let out of leases for on-campus apartments. There are plenty of housing options now.

Today’s update is that any in-person instruction will be delayed at least 2 weeks. Classes will start at the end of this month as scheduled, but they will all be online. They are requiring students have proof of a negative test before moving to campus and then requiring another test once they are there. They are supposed to quarantine until they get the on-campus test back. They are also being asked to stay in their rooms as much as possible for the first two weeks so they can assess the status after all of the test results. Not exactly a fun way to start college. I have suspected that the big reason they had not already done this was football. It is easier to justify football if the rest of the students are on campus. Now that football is likely not happening it is easier to delay everything.

Not much will change for my daughter. She still moves into her apartment next week. She will get tested as we expected. Her one in-person class will start online and might remain there. She will possibly spend more time with her new roommates vs her friends on campus for the first two weeks.

I really miss normal.

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School Update

It seems these days I’m doing more of an online journal thing like I did on LiveJournal. I don’t plan to continue this, but since I have an update from yesterday’s post I guess I will do it.

Yesterday I wrote about the School Limbo we were in where the university emailed about a hybrid version of in-person and online classes. Students will be allowed to live on campus but the number of students living on campus would be smaller than planned.  We then had to wait for an email from resident life to know the status of my daughter’s dorm room.

Early this morning I saw online that they had emailed all students if they had canceled their housing. I woke my daughter up so she would check her email. As we feared, her housing was canceled. Also as suspected, all of her friends who had leases on the campus owned apartments kept their housing. It was possible that she would be stuck at home while all of her friends were on campus.

Luckily, because we woke her up early she saw a couple of posts from people looking for someone to take over their lease on nearby apartments. We are 99% sure that she now has a place next to campus. I guess until we sign papers it could always fall through, but right now we think she has a place to live. If it does fall through she will be out of luck because now everyone is awake and posting in the Facebook housing group asking if anyone has a place open. I guess a last resort would be begging her brother to let her live with him.

So, that was our exciting morning. Hopefully, everything is settled and we can move on with life.

School Limbo

Update – housing has officially been canceled. Everything sucks.

Yesterday was the day we were supposed to hear from my daughter’s college about plans for the fall semester. The day went by and there was no email. Finally, right as I was about to go to bed she gets the email

As expected, the plan is to have a hybrid of in-person and online classes. Classes of more than 50 will most likely lean toward online. Labs and other hands-on type classes will be in person. Dining halls will be open, but set up to allow for distancing and will have the option of food to go. Dorms will be open but adjusted to reduce density. Triples and quads will no longer exist. Some dorm space will be reserved for possible quarantine of students who test positive for Covid.

This is where we are still in limbo. Because my daughter was supposed to study abroad this fall, she missed the deadline for getting a lease at the on-campus apartments. She was finally able to secure a dorm room. The problem now – they only expect to offer housing to around 75% of the people who applied for housing with the emphasis on giving all first-year students housing.  That means there is no guarantee that the room she was supposed to have will still be there. We have no idea when we will know for sure. She was in a single, so we are hoping that increases her odds of keeping the room, but being a junior she might be on the bottom of the list for housing. I hope we hear something soon so we can join others in the mad rush to try to find off campus housing in the area so she’s not commuting to school.

I guess I understand why they want to guarantee housing for freshmen, but it makes things stressful for existing students who were supposed to live on campus. It sucks that we are in this situation because they took so long to tell us that study abroad was definitely not happening and we have no idea if she will have the option in the Spring either. Now we are left in limbo again while we wait for res life to tell her her status. I’m not a fan of waiting.

More School Stress

My daughter was supposed to study abroad in Italy this fall. We are pretty sure that won’t happen, but the school still has not confirmed they are canceling study abroad and keep pushing back the dates for a decision. Due to the fact that she was going to study abroad, she did not apply for housing on campus right away. She also missed the time frame to get housing in campus apartments. Once she knew study abroad likely wouldn’t happen, she applied for the apartments and filled out the housing application for on-campus housing.

She has confirmation that Commons(the school-owned apartments where all of her friends are living) is full.

Today she got the email that she does not have a dorm room either.

It appears the university doesn’t care that she was behind schedule because of a drastic change in her situation and the study abroad program likely being suspended.

I guess we will have to find her an apartment off-campus or she can sublet from someone or something but it will not be her optimal situation. It will be difficult to do with stay at home orders.

Add this stress on to health related family stress the past week and I’m done.

 

A Scary Day in the Life of College Tater

Occasionally, when there is nothing fun to write about in current times, I try to think back to any interesting stories from my life. I generally never find one because I’ve been generally boring my entire life. This morning I did remember a scary day from my college years.

My junior year in college I was a resident janitor at the Baptist Student Union. I traded mediocre to bad janitorial skills for free rent in the basement apartment in the building. My memory of what happened before that day is fuzzy because that day takes over my entire memory of the events, but I’m pretty sure earlier in the week a car had been stolen from our parking lot during our weekly service. I know we were doing penny wars during that time and the jars of money were sitting out that night. It’s possible the people involved in the stolen car saw the money and decided to come back another time. Now, we move to the other time, the event I remember vividly.

My roommate had gone home for the weekend. I was alone in the building and in my apartment in the basement. I heard what sounded like glass breaking and went out in the hall to investigate. I saw a brick in the floor in the classroom across the hall and multiple shadows outside the window and one shadow coming through the shades. I got back to my apartment as fast as I could without alerting them to my presence, called the police and sat by my door with a baseball bat. I’m not sure how long all of this took place. It seemed like it was hours, it was probably less than one hour. I sat by the door and listened to footsteps outside my door and above me on the main floor. I was sure at any minute someone was going to bust through my door. There was no sign of a police response.

I finally went back to the phone and decided to try to remember the number of the people I knew across the street. I’m not sure if I ever remembered their number. I was scared and it was hard to think straight. For some reason, I did remember the number for the fraternity next door I had been to some parties there my first two years in school and knew some people who lived there. I called over, told them what was happening and asked if they could see if the police were around anywhere. They did more than that. When they heard what was happening, they grabbed things that could be used as weapons and headed over to help. The people in the building fled at that point. Eventually, there was a knock at my door. I didn’t answer until the person identified themselves as my friend from across the street. I left the building to find the police were finally there as were my friends and several frat guys from next door. The police had apparently driven through the parking lot, thought things looked OK and left. Who knows what might have happened had I not known the number of the frat house next door. I do know that I don’t recall being that scared again.

If I remember correctly, the people involved were arrested after they crashed the car and fled while leaving papers(report card, maybe?) with their name on it in the car.

Some of the stories from before and after the event might be wrong. I’m old and forgetful.

Empty Nest Day

Today is the day. For the first time since 1996 we will have no kids living at home. We are loading the car this morning and moving our daughter in to her dorm. I’m not sure I’m ready for that drive back in an empty car. I’m hoping I can hold off on the crying until I am safely in the car so I don’t embarrass the rest of the family.

I’ve written a lot about the coming empty nest, so there’s not a whole lot left to say about the empty nest thing. It is time for m to figure out who I am in this phase of life. It’s time for my wife and I to figure out who we are as a couple in this phase of life. It’s time for me to figure out how to fill all of the empty hours that used to be time with my daughter.

I will miss having her at home to tolerate me being weird. I will miss having her at home to watch the dumb comedies with me. I will miss our Survivor nights on Wednesday nights. I will probably even miss the mess she leaves behind in every room she inhabits.

I’m sure it won’t take long for me to get used to the empty nest, but the next few weeks will not be easy.

College…Or Not

I recently read this article in the Washington Post –

Elitists, crybabies and junky degrees

A Trump supporter explains rising conservative anger at American universities.

I don’t agree with the people quoted that colleges are brainwashing young adults and turning them into liberal elites, but I do agree with the premise that college is not for everyone. Some people should not go to college and that’s OK. Some people should go to college and that is also OK.

I am the only one of my siblings to graduate from college. It doesn’t make me better than them. It doesn’t make me smarter than them(that happened naturally). I am better looking than them, but college had nothing to do with that. I needed to go to college to get where I needed to be in life.  They didn’t need to go to college to get where they needed to be in life. Both situations are fine. We did what was best for us. That’s what everyone should do.

Both of my kids will attend college. I hope they will both graduate. They have aspirations for careers that require a college education and the aptitude to be successful in college. Some kids have aspire to careers where a degree is not necessary. Some kids are not in a place where they would be successful in college. This is all OK.  I think everyone deserves a chance to go to college. I think we should continue funding for grants to help those in need attend college. I just don’t think everyone should go to college.

We need people to become tradesmen. We still need plumbers, carpenters, welders, auto mechanics, etc. These are good jobs. These are good jobs that do not require a college degree. Unfortunately, these are becoming jobs that are considered “lesser” and parents try to push kids away from them and into college. There is no shame in these jobs. We should stop trying to force kids into college just because we have all decided that everyone needs a college education.

We should let kids go in the direction that will allow them the most success. Why pressure a kid into college if that is not where they will be successful? Why not guide kids toward the path in life that is best for them instead of the path that makes the parents feel good about themselves?

 

College Visits

We just recently finished with the college tours for my daughter.  I was thinking about giving an impression of each school, but I decided instead to list the things that schools did that made an impression on me.

Keep it Simple, Stupid – Every college has an information session before the tours. Every college says a lot of the same things during these information sessions. So much o that almost every one of them talked about the charity dance marathon they do like they are the only college that does one.  A lot of these sessions were an hour when they didn’t need to be an hour. I was impressed with my alma mater, The University of Kentucky. They only had a 30 minute information session and gave us better information than most that had hour-long ones. Tell me the basics. Give a slice of life and move on.

Make the Tour Meaningful – Some of the tours were so light on details they were no more useful than me walking around the campus on my own. They need to be more than just walking around campus pointing at buildings. Give us some anecdotes, tell personal stories, do anything that makes it memorable. Indiana and Penn State were very good at this. The Penn State guides were the best ones we had. They answered questions honestly and made the tour more personal.

Don’t Charge for Parking – The only one that failed this one was Delaware. Everyone else gave us free parking. We had to pay there. You are trying to woo us. This is not a good start.

Feed Me Seymour –  Pointing at the dining hall is not as effective as providing a meal in the dining hall. Penn State and Washington University in St Louis provided a free meal in the dining hall. UMBC charged us, but at a discount rate.  If you want us to be impressed with the food options, letting us sample is the bet way to do this.

Swag – Wash U is the only one that gave us meaningful swag. I use the nice Wash U water bottle every day. It doesn’t hurt to have something with the school name on it around the house if you want to stay fresh in our minds. Nice job Wash U.

Follow Up – Kentucky wins here. A handwritten postcard from the tour guides thanking my daughter for visiting. Really nice touch. Delaware fails. They keep inviting us to visit after we have already visited.

Obviously, things like cost, academics and the like will be the most important part of the decision, but if there is a tie things like the above could make a difference in the decision.