How COVID-19 is impacting the Morningside College community

While students at Morningside College are happy to be able to attend in-person classes this fall, there are still some concerns about COVID-19 wandering around campus.

Many different things on campus have changed since the start of the pandemic. There are seating arrangements in classes so you can’t sit by your friends, mandatory mask mandates, and some classes are fully online now so students feel like they are not grasping all the information and feel distracted by outside things when not in the classroom. 

As Morningside is trying to keep the college running as normal as possible while meeting all of the mandatory guidelines, students are concerned about the future for Morningside and how it’s all going to be affected by COVID-19.

Lauren Kipp, a junior at Morningside, noticed she wasn’t feeling too well the third week of school. She went to get tested for the COVID-19. While she was waiting for her test to come back, Morningside made her move out of her apartment and live on the third floor of Dimmitt Hall until she got her test results back.

“I didn’t know what to do because I was just sent to a room and I didn’t want to leave it just in case I was negative. I didn’t want to be around positive people.”

After five days, Lauren finally got her test results back and they were positive. She learned that she had to stay in Dimmitt for another week. When she found out that she was positive she wasn’t scared to leave her room anymore to shower, walk to get her food from the lobby, etc.

“I just feel bad for people that are negative and living in the same hall as the positive people,” said Lauren. “No one really knows whats going on in isolation/ quarantine floor. There isn’t guidance on what to do while we are here.”

Lauren’s fear for the future is that Morningside College is going to move fully online and things never going back how they use to be.

“It is hard doing everything online because you can’t ask person to person questions without the whole class hearing.” Lauren said, “It is really hard being personal even being in class because when we are wearing a mask, no one seems like they want to talk, and it is really hard to make friends that way.”

Emma Schmitz, a senior, says her last year isn’t going the way she expected. Emma hasn’t been in contact with anyone on campus that has COVID-19; she is taking precautions. All of Emma’s classes are face to face.

“My biggest challenge now that we are back at school is making sure I am making the right decisions like staying inside when I need to.”

Emma thinks that Morningside is doing a pretty good job keeping students safe while attending on campus.

“Morningside is doing a lot better than most colleges by keeping us informed,” Emma said. “The college does put a lot of fluff to make us feel better, making the emails a lot longer than to be.” 

Emma is majoring in Art Education and she has been preparing for the last four years to teach in person. “My biggest fear is just not being prepared for teaching online,” Emma said. “We haven’t thought about what happens if we stay online. I am also nervous about students not even having art class in the future if we stay online.” 

As shown, many students on campus have a lot of nerves and different concerns for this school year. Chris Spicer, Vice President of Academic Affairs, strives to keep everyone up to date and informed about the protocol week to week.

“We are constantly looking at a variety of factors. Externally, any actions taken by the Iowa Governor have to be adhered to. We are also in frequent communication with Siouxland District Health who is able to provide data and trends regarding cases and hospitalizations in the greater Siouxland area. Internally, our COVID-19 dashboard is incredibly informative as are regular conversations with Student Health. All those factors are taken together, holistically, to determine our operational levels” said Chris. 

Morningside operation levels: 

GREEN: All normal operations have resumed with exceptions for highrisk individuals. 

YELLOW: Risk is considered low to moderate for all but high-risk individuals. Learning and working will take place primarily in-person, with some guidelines in place to limit contact and large group gatherings. 

ORANGE: Risk is considered moderate to elevated for all but high-risk individuals. Students and employees are present on campus but will utilize more options to learn and work remotely or to limit in-person contact.

RED: Risk is high for everyone. Most of all students and employees will utilize remote working and learning options. The campus is following directives from state and national authorities.

At the beginning of this school year, Morningside told the campus that they would do anything possible to continue to protect the health and safety of Morningside while sticking to Morningside’s mission. 

“Most aspects of campus have had safety modifications made, from classes to dining services to co-curricular experiences, but who we are and our mission hasn’t changed. Students are receiving a high-quality education, learning from bright faculty who are experts in their respective fields, and gaining valuable co-curricular and experiential learning experiences,” said Chris.

While concerns are still wondering about campus Chris Spicer has advise to the Morningside community: 

“Have patience and don’t panic. The entire world is in a constant state of turmoil, and everyone is having to solve problems that didn’t exist 8 months ago. The entire Morningside community has worked incredibly hard to be able to bring students back to campus this fall, and it will take the entire community to be able to continue to do so. Students have a role to play as well: wear your mask; don’t gather in large groups; stay home if you are sick or have been exposed; practice good hygiene.”

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