reopening

Students react to colleges’ reopening plans with mix of optimism, fear

Arriving on campus kick-starts a year of firsts for college freshmen, and Abbey Shea was excited about all of them. Her first introduction to new roommates who may become lifelong friends, first semester away from home, first foray into independence.

And then her Port Orange, Florida, high school postponed its graduation ceremony because of the coronavirus. Uncertainty set in, and Shea braced herself for “a new normal,” she said — a college experience far different from the social mecca she’d imagined. 

“I’m trying to open myself up more,” said Shea, 18, who selected Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale as much for its diverse student population as for academic reasons. Now, she worries pandemic-related rules will smother her interpersonal goals. “I know it’s not going to be the same.”

Though Nova, a private university, has yet to publish a comprehensive outline for the fall semester, the Florida State University System’s

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