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ASU dorm life for freshmen during COVID-19 isn't easy, especially for those out-of-state

“We are part of historical class that has been able to experience this in our hometowns and now together in our new home.”

PHOENIX — This year has been unlike any other, especially for freshmen at Arizona State University. Dorm life looks a lot different amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For those students coming from other states, it's not only getting used to college life, but it's also getting used to a new home. 

“It has been challenging," said freshman Tabitha Bland from Sacramento, California. "I think it's interesting being a part of the class of 2020 because we had the tail end of our high school altered and the beginning of our college experience." 

Tabitha chose to attend ASU for their Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. She has had to navigate through the pandemic in Tempe along with the wildfires impacting her family and friends at home. 

"Knowing that California is on fire and getting pictures from my parents of the sky being dark with smoke, it makes me miss home," said Bland. “You look at college as this opportunity to be in big groups of people and you see all of the pictures and videos and that just not the case right now.”  

Dorm-life for Sun Devil freshmen looks different because of mask requirements, social distancing and virtual learning being their new norm.  

"Really stressful I feel like for everyone," said freshman TJ Hayes from Illinois. Hayes tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this fall. He had both a fever and a cough.

ASU officials have collected approximately 57,629 test results from students and employees since August 1, 2020. 

Cumulative number of positive tests since August 1, 2020

  • Students: 1,580
  • Faculty and staff: 30 

“I got COVID and then just like a roller coaster it went straight down,” said freshman Anthony Ravasio from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.    

Freshmen TJ Hayes and Anthony Ravasio have both recovered from the virus after quarantining. Despite testing positive, TJ still values being part of a new community. “I’d rather deal with the stress, to be honest, and keep those connections because I’ve met so many new people.” 

However, Anthony says the virus still limits those opportunities for the community with most of his classes being online. “The social interaction that comes with everyday life that we haven’t had for months, I’m definitely missing that.”  

ASU has announced that all instruction will become remote after the Thanksgiving Holiday. Fall commencement will also be virtual.

Adjustments to fall 2020 academic calendar
Session C will now end on Friday, Dec. 4. The final-exam week originally scheduled Dec. 7–12 will not take place. All instruction after the Thanksgiving break will be remote. Final exams, where applicable, should be held on the last day of class during the week of Nov. 30. Session B will conclude on Dec. 4 as originally scheduled.

Fall 2020 commencement will be virtual

In a statement the university said:

We regret that current health circumstances will not permit us to host in-person commencement ceremonies in December. Our fall 2020 university commencement ceremony and special-interest convocations scheduled for the week of Dec. 14 will be converted to a virtual format. More information will be available soon at graduation.asu.edu