BVU Life with COVID


Hannah Kramer and Hannah Perry

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this new normal is anything but normal. Abrupt setbacks caused by the crisis have called for the alteration of daily routines and patterns, especially for higher learning institutions. For Buena Vista University students arriving on the Storm Lake campus this fall, many things will seem atypical in comparison to previous years.

University officials’ top priority is the safety of students, faculty, and staff. Due to that, there have been several changes that reshape the atmosphere within shared spaces. When devising the new plans, the BVU health and safety committee took inspiration from health institutes and other universities.

“[The] CDC is always my go-to as to what we need to do to keep people safe,” Interim President Dr. Brian Lenzmeier said. “We have been visiting with people at the University of Iowa. I have spent a lot of time with the hospital CEO and we have a couple BV Alums who are doctors and so we have had them involved in helping us plan.”

Upon entering the buildings on campus, students are greeted with gold and navy-blue signs directing them to the entrances and exits. In Siebens Forum, which is usually littered with studying students, has been marked with signs stating where to and where not to sit. The walkways are also overloaded with floor arrows giving direction on where to walk. Following these guidelines ensures faculty and students stay safely distanced from one another.

As a university with the majority of students living on campus, new protocols consisting of social distancing, wearing masks and limited capacity are being enforced by Resident Assistants. In each room, there is a 1:1 student ratio, which allows up to four students in a standard two-person room and up to 12 students in a suite. While RAs are trained to spot disobedience, there is a certain level of understanding among the student leaders.

“I’ve forgotten my mask in the hallway a couple times and it was an accident; it wasn’t intentional,” junior Molly Barten said. “I just try to be nice about it and give a friendly reminder and not try to sound like the police and enforcing rules.”

While BVU has opened its campus back up, some students have still chosen to learn remotely this semester. For senior Michael Clinesmith, the decision to stay home centered around the resources available for his major. Whether or not students return to campus, there are familiar alternatives to being in-person, such as increased use of Canvas and Zoom.

Other universities such as UNC Chapel Hill and Notre Dame have sent students home recently after starting the semester. With only two and a half months until Thanksgiving Break, Vice President of Student Success, Lucy Croft, encourages all Beavers to follow the guidelines.

“If we want to get to that end goal– we want to keep our campus safe and well and moving, we’ve got to really think about our behavior,” Croft said. “A lot of people have worked extremely hard to open up campus and take that courageous move and we need everybody in this together so we can have an incredible academic year.”

Check out our Multimedia piece of this topic below, created by Morgan Krull and Charisma Mendez: