Accepted students react to COVID-19 related changes at UMass

UMass has cancelled tours and information sessions until April 18

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(Collegian file photo)

By Sophia Gardner, Assistant News Editor

Recent changes to the University of Massachusetts, such as the cancellation of in-person classes and the cancellation of tours and info-sessions to limit the spread of COVID-19, have made it increasingly hard for accepted students to see how campus typically functions. Tours and information sessions are currently cancelled until April 18, but this date could be extended.

In response to this issue, according to reporting from the Washington Post, some universities, such as George Mason University in Northern Virginia, Oregon State University and Williams College in Massachusetts, have pushed back the date that they require students to commit to attending. UMass currently requires students to make their deposit by May 1.

The University has not made a definitive decision on this issue yet. “The Admissions staff is in the process of evaluating how to proceed with deadlines and New Student Orientation,” said Mary Dettloff, deputy director of the Office of News and Media Relations. “As soon as decisions are made, they will be announced on the [University’s] coronavirus website.”

Several accepted students expressed support for the extension of this date.

“I think it would be an amazing idea for UMass to extend their deadline to commit until at least May 1 because . . . I’m really indecisive,” said Evelynn Schoenthal, a student who has been accepted to UMass, as well as the Commonwealth Honors College, but has yet to commit. “The rest of my decisions don’t come out until [March 19], and it’s a lot of pressure, especially considering I can’t go to campus one last time.”

Katie Peichel, a student who has committed to UMass and plans to major in biology, expressed similar feelings.

“[I] think they should extend [the deadline] few weeks or at least make their virtual tour very accurate,” Peichel said.

Ellen McIntyre, an accepted student who has yet to commit, said that the other schools she was accepted to have already changed their deadline.

“Many other schools I have applied to have extended the date to June 1,” McIntyre said, “and while I don’t think they necessarily have to push it that far back, it would be nice to move it a bit.”

While these students supported a later deadline, they also expressed that they had already toured the campus, and therefore the lack of tours would not determine their decisions.

“I’ve already toured the campus before and I’m fine using my experience then to make my decision,” said McIntyre.

Schoenthal also had previously toured but would have liked to do so again.

“I’ve been on the UMass Amherst campus a few times already and I went to the accepted students day in February, so I don’t think it’ll affect my decision much,” she said. “I definitely would’ve liked to visit campus another time before committing because I’m super indecisive.”

Peichel said this is an issue that she is facing with every college she has been accepted to, as each school has cancelled in-person classes. However, the students also expressed support for the University’s decision.

“I think cancelling in-person classes was a really good decision to help decrease the spread of the virus,” Schoenthalsaid.“I don’t think enough people are taking this as seriously as they should be.”

“I think it was a good decision to cancel-in person classes,” McIntyre said. “Considering the large student body and how [easy] it is to catch COVID-19, I think it would have been irresponsible to not stop in-person classes.”

“I think it was the reasonable thing to do as it’s a global pandemic, and many people are not being responsible enough to take the proper precautions,” said Peichel.

Sophia Gardner can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @sophieegardnerr.