Student Life

COVID-19 Impacts Commuter Life

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 COVID-19 has changed many aspects of college life, its reach extending beyond residential students and into Bethel’s commuter community. Near the end of the Spring 2020 semester, Bethel University notified students it would provide returning commuters with $50 of Bethel Bucks to be used at Sufficient Grounds or an off-campus partner restaurant. 

John Kaehr, associate director for community life, confirmed this fact.  It is unclear if the $50 has already been added to student accounts; however, Kaehr said he will follow up to make sure commuters have an answer this week. 

Additionally, commuters have questions regarding swipe access.  Although commuters have never had swipe access to dorms, Kaehr said that in years past, commuters have been allowed to spend three nights per semester in the dorms.  Now with the pandemic, this is no longer an option; however, they are more than welcome to visit a residential student if they wear a mask.  Commuters also have swipe access to the gym and the commuter lounge, which is open when the science building is open. 

“SG or the second floor of the AC is my other recommendation,” Victoria Sanchez, the commuter assistant, said.    

“If a commuter feels their swipe should have worked, they can go to Student Life for help,” said Kaehr. 

Chapel adjustments have also been made to accommodate for the pandemic.   

“Commuters only have a chapel requirement if they have a 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. class,” Sanchez said. 

Whether a commuter attends a Monday, Wednesday or Friday chapel depends on their last name. Further details are included on the Bethel website and can also be found in the email announcement regarding chapel. 

Regarding COVID, Kaehr said that yes, Student Life is trying to offer more support.   

“We should be doing more,” Kaehr said. “With our commuter population — obviously it’s a little more challenged to get them connected — so our commuter assistance is in the lounge pretty regularly.  We have a Canvas group now.  We’ve been talking about doing events to help create community.”  

Kaehr also said the commuter assistants will be putting out a survey soon to see if commuters would be interested in a Bible study. 

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