A freshman’s experience heading to college during the pandemic

Back to School

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Making the transition to college came with enough jitters before COVID-19 but this semester will be unlike any other in Syracuse University’s history, and those changes start before students step on campus.

Students will first have to get a negative COVID-19 test before they can return. Many of them will also have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

For freshman Nick Luttrell it’s been quite a different move-in experience than he ever thought he’d have heading into his college career.

Luttrell comes from a hot spot state and has been on campus for more than a week now. To get there, he opted to pay the university $50 to mail him a COVID-19 test kit before he could begin his quarantine. The university gave students the option to get their own or use the test kit.

Once Luttrell made it to his dorm room, he was given a bag of snacks and a COVID Health Kit made up of three reusable face masks, hand sanitizer, a door opener, and a forehead thermometer.

“They bring us three meals a day and we order that through a Google form the day before,” said Luttrell.

Student lunch: southwest chicken salad, pretzels, juice, fruit cup & strawberries

Now, as he enters his second week, Luttrell says he’s grouped in a ‘pod’ with 15 to 20 other students so they can socialize with masks on, of course.

“When we started we only had one hour of outdoor time and a few days ago it changed. Now we have two hours of outdoor time. I’m expected, anytime I go out that door, that I have a mask on and that I try to maintain six feet of distance from everyone else,” said Luttrell.

His roommate, Alex Malanoski, has not yet moved into their dorm room. Malanoski lives in New York State so he’s only required to test negative before moving in on August 18. Per the university’s COVID guidelines, only one parent will be allowed to help move him in.

“I almost feel more safe going to Syracuse than being at home just because of the fact that there are so many guidelines and precautions that they’re taking,” said Malanoski. “I think they’re really finding ways to work around things even though it’s not gonna be the same.”

It’s certainly not the way they imagined they’d begin college but they’re finding the silver lining.

Yesterday I got to interact with Syracuse Football Coach Dino Babers. That’s something that was only available to people quarantined on campus. This morning, we get to talk with Mike Tirico who obviously was a former student here and as a striving broadcaster, being able to talk with him is going to be really something special.

Nick Luttrell — Syracuse University Freshman, Broadcast and Digital Journalism

“There are some scary parts to it but I’m still excited,” said Malanoski. “Newhouse has set up tents outside the building, like these big tents so that there can be learning outdoors in person but we can be more spread out.”

While their first college semester will look different than that of anyone who stepped on campus before them, Luttrell and Malanoski are ready.

“If the students can just adhere to it [guidelines] a little bit and just wear a mask, it’s gonna be ok,” said Luttrell.


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