UT Knoxville students talk new year, new classes and new safety guidelines

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A few days of classes, some time spent in the dorms, and a “new normal” around Rocky Top are some of the things students are talking about.

The COVID-19 case count, updated daily, and data provided by UT are two ways to gauge what campus is like during the coronavirus outbreak. However, the more personal way: Talking to students.

Between a new semester, new guidelines, and for some first-year students, a new city in Knoxville, conversations at the Volshop weren’t limited.

Students must reserve their books online and pickup at the Volshop, while wearing masks and staying socially distant.

That in itself, a change from years past, when students were able to walk the aisles of the Volshop freely, picking their own books and supplies. The change is one of the on-campus efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep the number of people in the store to a minimum.

While students waited for their orders to be delivered at the register, WATE 6 On Your Side asked about their week, what classes have been like, what campus has felt like, and for returning students, if they noticed any changes.

The result: College students have the same worries as they did before the pandemic, but now, there are more guidelines in place and limitations to the way they can gather.

Some described the start to the semester as “boring,” due to restrictions on parties. Others called it “exciting” because they haven’t seen their roommates and friends since March. Others were just happy to “be out of the house and away from [my] parents.”

It’s new, sure. It’s too early to tell how students will feel about the new guidelines long-term, but it’s a start.

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