By Madi Rowe and Annabelle Norton, Viking Fusion Videographers
MOUNT BERRY, Ga. — Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Berry College has rapidly adjusted campus life to ensure the safety of its students and faculty. The restrictions and alterations put in place have allowed Berry to continue an in-person college experience, setting the school apart from many other institutions.
These limitations have been accompanied by positive results in terms of the number of COVID cases on campus. According to an email from the President’s office on February 17, exactly 1,233 members of the Berry community participated in campus-wide COVID-19 testing with zero participants testing positive for the virus. In addition to the 459 student-athletes and athletic staff tested separately, 884 students and 349 employees tested negative.
Maintaining an in-person campus experience while minimizing COVID spread has required many adjustments to social activities and in-person classes. During the first two weeks of the 2021 spring semester, for example, Berry administrators asked students to stay on campus to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Despite the challenges that these restrictions present, Berry students are still able to connect and sustain their relationships. Senior marketing major Bryce Nethery said he feels the costs of the lockdown were worth it.
“I definitely felt a little trapped at times, but overall if that’s what’s going to keep everyone safe and healthy over the first few weeks that’s what I was willing to do,” Nethery said. “Plus, I’m glad we’re in person for my last semester here at Berry. So, I think at first it was frustrating but overall it was a good decision Berry made.”
While COVID-19 precautions include many limitations, the Berry community has still prioritized strengthening student relationships despite the pandemic. The Krannert Center Activity Board’s (KCAB) events are hosted with allowances for social distancing, and common spaces in the Memorial Library and Krannert Center provide students with a safe space to socialize.
The social impacts of COVID-19 restrictions also reach to Berry’s various scholarship programs, such as the WinShape College Program. Freshman WinShape student and marketing major Rosa Sanchez-Alvarado said that she was originally drawn to Berry because of its close community, something which she is especially grateful for this year.
“I’m super thankful that we’ve been able to have in-person classes. I know a lot of my friends on other campuses are just strictly on Zoom and that’s just really hard for them. And I know I’m a very in-person learner and so I’m so thankful to be in the classroom and not on Zoom.”
Sanchez-Alvarado said that restrictions such as the two-week lockdown challenged her to be more intentional in her relationships. During that time, Sanchez-Alvarado said WinShape students became closer to each other by carpooling to save gas.
Sanchez-Alvarado also said that she has involved herself in the Berry and Rome community with ministry and small groups during this season, and that she enjoys her relationships with her professors and fellow students.