Hamilton College COVID-19 “Return” Video is Unusually Realistic
Most colleges and universities have “return to campus” videos to inform new and returning students about the usual requirements re wearing masks, washing hands, keeping 6 feet apart. Videos typically show some combination of classroom changes, signs on campus, students walking about or on lawns, dorm rooms, and dining facilities.
Often presidents or deans of students open the video. The tone is factual and serious, sometimes a bit boring. When presidents speak, platitudes often prevail. None that I watched completely (about 14) said that things would be difficult on campus this semester. Different. But not difficult.
Today’s Link of the Week from Hamilton College takes a different tone. The opening is from a student and student voices take up most of the 1:38 time. Faculty and staff do appear, but students wisely get most of the speaking time.
What struck me as different about the tone?
- “These tasks are not easy and its going to be hard” to wear masks and stay distant from one another.
- “These tasks are not natural” from another student.
- “There are doubters out there” re the value of wearning masks.
- “Stay on campus” appears twice in the video.
- “We can’t risk bringing the virus in from somewhere else” as an apparent attempt to keep the mostly residential students in a campus bubble.
There is more recognition here than in the other videos I watched (admittedly a small sample of all that exist) that the “experience” students can expect is going to be quite different than what they have known in the past or were expecting as they selected Hamilton in their last high school year. That message, we can hope, will have a stronger impact when delivered primarily by students rather than staff. Students sound more realistic than presidents. We can hope that other students will pay more attention to them.
Hamilton is, of course, not similar to the large universites that have already experienced COVID-19 problems as students return. But residential liberal arts colleges are not immune. St. Olaf College, for instance, has reported 17 virus cases and 50 students in quarantine since opening last week.
How well is the Hamilton return to campus effort going to work?
Follow along at the “Returning to Campus” dashboard page. Classes start August 24.
Follow the Link of the Week
For a realistic video where students take the leading roles view “Keep Hamilton Healthy.”
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