While most of University of Miami’s Chinese students remained in China to do remote learning for the fall semester, some stayed in the United States.
Yinghui Ma, a senior motion pictures major, took several in-person classes and lived at Eaton Residential College.
“I was nervous and concerned before I went to my first in-person class,” Ma said, “but I was much relaxed when I saw there were 6-foot points on the floor to keep the social distance, and both professors and students wore masks. Also, as the class started, I was paying much attention to the class materials rather than whether I would be infected,” Ma said.
The university implemented several policies to reduce the risk of infections. The UM administration employed public health ambassadors to survey the campus to make sure the community was following the health mandates by wearing their masks and walking six feet apart. Students who did not abide by the rules by wearing masks were subject to being written up by UMPD.
Despite these precautions Ma said she doesn’t think those measures were effective enough.
“The university has asked us to do the test every 10 days, but the test is not effective for asymptomatic carriers, and some students still hold large gatherings and parties,” Ma said, which results in cases increasing.
Ma said healthy students in dorms could come in contact with infected students in the elevators and in other areas of the dorms.
“I think it would be more effective if the university gives out some punishments to students who violated the rule of social distancing,” Ma said.
Ma said she took effective prevention measures by wearing her mask and gloves during class and never touching her eyes and mouth.
Many Chinese students chose to live off campus and take online classes. Jiarui He, a junior education major, lived in a house with another Chinese student, Jialin Wang. They said she seeks stark differences in the way Americans and Chinese respond to safety precautions.
“Although most people wear masks, the ways they wear them are not proper,” He said. “I noticed that some people will only cover their mouths but their noses will be exposed. Lots of kids who are not comfortable with wearing masks will not wear it at all, and many people will take off their masks when there are not many people out there.”
Wang said that the university needs to be more strict in punishments for students who do not abide by the rules because they are not only putting themselves at risk, but they have the potential to impact the entire community negatively.
“Either the government needs to implement more strong policies, or people need to increase their awareness of the virus in order to better control the virus,” Wang said.
Summer Xia contributed to this reporting.