COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado College became the first school of higher education to move to nearly all online learning after trying to host students on campus, but finding infections of COVID-19 among students.
Ten students living on campus and an on-campus staff member have tested positive.
“Well they gave us 20 days to go home, so we have a couple of weeks if we want to stay,” said Cole Pietsch, a freshman from Carbondale. “An ideal college experience was just out of the question.”
The college had students tested at the outset of the year and further testing uncovered the cases as the mix of in-person and online started. But soon a case in Loomis Hall led to a recommendation from the El Paso County Department of Public Health to quarantine students.
Students tried to grow used to the orders to stay inside 23 hours a day. Late last week, as the Loomis quarantine was ending after 14 days, two more dorms, South Hall and Mathias were quarantined.
“Time flies when you’re stuck in the room, there’s no concept of, just hour after hour it kind of blends together,” said Carl Mezrow of Philadelphia. “We get three of four meals delivered every day at 4, 5 o’clock. And then we have dinner for that night as well as like a late lunch and then breakfast.”
Students tried to make the best of it.
“I think that we’re missing out on the typical college experience that everyone gets,” said Georgia Van Der Linden, a freshman from California who came to study the sciences. “We’re not being able to see friends, we can’t socialize. Not only that but we’re missing a major component of academic classes. It’s hard to learn online.”
She sat on the lawn where quarantined students have been allowed to spend an hour a day.
“It’s definitely not what I imagined, but it’s also my first year so I don’t know any different,” said Ayden Cherry of Brooklyn, New York.
“We have been told by the county health department to expect rolling waves of large quarantines going forward,” said acting college co-President Robert G. Moore in making the announcement.
Colorado College says it will try to help international students find housing as well as those who may have no other options for housing if they leave school. There will still be some labs in person, but those mostly affect upper classmen who live off-campus.
“Definitely disappointed,” said Peitsch. “The alternative was being here and experiencing quarantine after quarantine”
He didn’t think when he came to college it was going to be a normal year.
“I don’t know if my expectations were quite like we’re absolutely going to be able to last the whole year.”