Allyson Fuller, a Kutztown University senior, and her service dog, Flint, are still living on campus weeks after it closed, working as a community assistant for the remaining students.
Fuller thought the COVID-19 shutdown at KU would be brief.
She had chosen to stay on campus for spring break, deciding to continue her work as a community assistant. The school initially announced that spring break would be extended, keeping students away from campus for an extra week.
“We just thought we were going to have an extra week off and then things were going to go back to normal,” Fuller said.
And then one day, while she was on duty, a meeting she was supposed to attend was pushed back. Then, the meeting was canceled.
Fuller found it odd. But not as odd as what came next: the announcement that campus would be closed for the rest of the semester.
“We had no idea what was happening,” said the 22-year-old from Doylestown, Bucks County. “I was like, ‘What is going on, this is insane.’ It was definitely very sudden, it’s definitely surreal.
Because Fuller had stayed on campus during spring break and worked for the university, she was allowed to remain with a small group of other students.
They’ve been trying to make the best out of a strange situation, she said.
“It’s very quiet,” she said. “It’s so different from how it is typically.”
Kutztown officials said 42 students are living on campus.
The school has been organizing events for those students, mostly online or through social media. There’s exercise Mondays, Fuller said, a virtual book club on Wednesdays and an online coffee chat on Sundays.
There is an in-person program still happening on Friday nights, Fuller said, but it’s being done in a way to allow for proper social distancing.
“It’s a huge change,” Fuller said of Kutztown during the pandemic. “I miss all my friends who are at home.”
Fuller said she fills her day with online coursework, which has some challenges. Even though she normally takes a course or two each semester online, doing everything via the internet is no picnic.
Some of the professors aren’t particularly savvy with technology, she said, and she sometimes finds it difficult to manage her time.
“I feel like in some ways I’m missing out, but the professors are working hard and doing the best they can,” she said.
When she’s not focused on school work, Fuller said she streams television shows and movies, or takes her service dog for walks. But even those walks have become odd experiences.
“You don’t see many people,” she said. “Maybe a couple of people who live in town that will walk their dogs on campus or ride bikes through campus. Other than that, you don’t see anyone.”