College freshmen moved into dorms with hopes of having a ‘normal’ semester. 3 students told us why they quickly moved back home.

College students moving at the University of Michigan. <p class="copyright"><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gregory Shamus/Getty Images" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gregory Shamus/Getty Images</a></p>
College students moving at the University of Michigan.
  • Insider spoke to students at the University of Alabama, University of Michigan, and the University of Missouri on why they made the decision to leave their campuses shortly after moving into dorms. 

  • The students had hoped for a traditional college experience but felt they were at risk while on campus.

  • The students pointed to campus parties, a lack of rules, and inadequate testing as to why they decided to head back home.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Editor’s note: Some of the students who spoke to Insider for this article asked to go by their first names only in order to speak frankly.

Before Chloe even moved into her dorm room at the University of Alabama, she was already searching for a way out.

The freshman had heard rumors of “COVID parties” in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She was familiar

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N.J. students may lose mental health services at schools

After giving birth almost two years ago, Nayeli Espinoza agonized over whether to drop out of her high school in Trenton, New Jersey, and get a job to support her newborn son.

She credits the School Based Youth Services Program at Trenton Central High School with allowing her to continue her education by helping her secure day care and giving her a place to talk about her problems with counselors.

“It was a blessing,” Espinoza, now 17, said Friday. “I was suffering a lot.”

But the program that thousands of New Jersey students, particularly those in lower-income districts and communities of color, consider a lifeline could be eliminated at the end of the month under the proposed state budget. The plan has sent students and their families scrambling to figure out how to get crucial services without it.

“We have this program that can help us be something for our

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Wisconsin Rural Students Face Digital Divide As Students Return

This is the third in a series of stories examining how school districts around the country are coping with the coronavirus pandemic. You can read the whole series here.

By Peter Cameron/The Badger Project

The 40-acre farmette where the Hellenbrand family lives in south-central Wisconsin is an eclectic mix of people and animals.

Amy Jo Hellenbrand and her husband raise corn, soybeans, wheat, heifers, chickens, goats and bunnies on their land just outside the village of Dane, about 20 miles north of Madison.

“We do have a little petting zoo,” she said with a chuckle.

They also raise four children — ages 11, 9, 8 and 5 — and up to five more children attend her home day care at least for part of the day.

That made this spring particularly challenging, when the pandemic forced schools across the state to close. Mirroring the rest of Wisconsin, education for the

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Michigan grad students strike over virus issues

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Graduate students who teach classes were on strike Tuesday at the University of Michigan over in-person instruction during the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

The strikers chanted and held umbrellas while marching in the rain. “I do not want my students and colleagues to get a chronic illness because this university decided it was most important to collect tuition,” Surabhi Balachander wrote on Twitter.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, which represents more than 1,000 instructors, has called for a four-day strike.

Most classes at the University of Michigan have shifted to online. But the union says the university isn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It robust plans for testing, contact tracing, and campus safety. It wants plans for testing and contact tracing, allowing graduate employees to work remotely and a more flexible childcare subsidy.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald says the strike is illegal under

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‘I chose to start the school year with the students’

Whether it’s distance learning or classrooms now outfitted with distanced desks and PPE (personal protection equipment), the school year looks a lot different during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s especially true for elementary school teacher and expectant mother Janet Udomratsak, who has transformed her hospital room into a makeshift classroom from which she remotely instructs first-graders via a laptop perched on her meal tray.

Now in her 11th year of teaching, the pregnant Lancaster, Calif. educator has been a patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills since July 4. Concerned that Udomratsak, then just 24 weeks into her pregnancy, might go into pre-term labor, doctors have decided to keep her admitted until she gives birth. Nearly two months later, she’s now 33 weeks along and hopes to make it to 37.

Teacher Janet Udomratsak transformed her hospital room into a makeshift distance learning workspace. (Photo: Janet Udomratsak)
Teacher Janet Udomratsak transformed her hospital room into a makeshift distance learning workspace. (Photo: Janet Udomratsak)


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Colleges are trying to track students to contain COVID-19 cases. Students are pushing back.

DETROIT — Special police patrols in student-heavy neighborhoods. Smartphone apps monitoring location inside a bubble. Daily check-in forms.

As hundreds of thousands of students arrive back on campuses across the country, college and university administrators are greeting them with a variety of methods to monitor behavior and discourage large gatherings, all in an effort to keep the students healthy and on campus.

Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina have recently shut down face-to-face instruction after large gatherings led to COVID clusters. Syracuse University’s leaders last week said large gatherings had left the school on the verge of shutting down and going online-only.

Even as administrators are coming up with plans, students are pushing back, saying they are invasions of privacy.

They’ve seen some success. At Oakland University in suburban Detroit, a plan to mandate all students wear BioButtons was changed to strongly recommend wearing the health tracker after

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‘Living in my car’? Fall semester online means college students are scrambling for housing, Wi-Fi

When California State University announced May 12 its schools would be online for the fall semester, Graciela Moran thought she might end up homeless.

The San Bernardino student is immunocompromised and had been living in her dorm as a residential assistant. But with the Cal State announcement, her contract ended and her stipend was taken away. Her father, a carpet installer, had to keep working during the city’s increase in coronavirus infections, so she couldn’t move home without putting herself at risk.

“I was really thinking about living in my car,” she said. Her mind raced as she weighed finding a full-time job that would allow her to afford an apartment.

But the college stepped in. A COVID-19 relief fund from the Basic Needs Department provided the fifth-year senior, who is also the school’s student body president, with the payment she needed to stay in her dorm room. When it

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Colleges navigate the uncertain world of a pandemic, as students and faculty fear for their safety

The University of Notre Dame had a plan it thought would allow it to safely welcome students back to campus during the pandemic. But then everything went south; tests were nowhere near as available as planned, and the positivity rate climbed as the first week of classes, starting Aug. 10, continued. With the weekend came what public health officials warned about: parties. Reports cited at least two off-campus gatherings held over the weekend as the source of 80 new confirmed cases. The university promptly switched to remote learning for the next two weeks, letting students remain on campus as the administration figures out what to do next. How many other universities will go the way of Notre Dame?

Universities have suffered staggering losses in revenue due to the pandemic, and they know that bringing students back would at least help alleviate the financial pressure. But many are struggling with how

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Kenneth Cole Enlists Students for ‘Make the Statement’ Voter Initiative

As the 2020 election approaches, Kenneth Cole has engaged students for an initiative titled, “Make the Statement,” to help increase voter turnout. The goal is to empower students to create a piece of artwork that sends a powerful message.

Cole approached design students, recent graduates and alumni asking them to use their typographical design prowess to create a piece of artwork that would stop online scrollers in their tracks. The company provided students with a choice of three election season messages: “If You Don’t Vote, We Don’t Exist,” “You Vote, We Exist,” and “Vote to Exist.” The students took these messages and used them to create things from simple illustrations to a graphic design to animation.

“I have always believed that for our democracy to work, we all need to ‘Stand up and show up, or shut up.’ I also believe that voting is not just a privilege; it’s a

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Study says students could lose $90,000 over their lifetime

Going to college immediately after high school has been a rite of passage for millions of students. Now, more college-bound students are considering a gap year amid rising coronavirus cases and concerns about the value of college instruction that may be partly or all online.

A new study out this week by SimpsonScarborough finds that 40 percent of incoming freshmen are likely or highly likely to not attend any four-year college this fall. Last week, Harvard reported that more than 20% of its first-year students are deferring enrollment.

But there could be a downside to delaying college by a year: the potential loss of $90,000 in lifetime earnings, according to a recent study from economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That might seem counter-intuitive, given that the pandemic has pushed the jobless rate higher, prompting questions from families about whether it’s the best time to make a

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