4/21/21 other interior shot

In Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, a computer lab rests unopened as a result of Covid safety measures.

Students whose college experiences may have been hampered by online learning are searching for ways to study more effectively by using on-campus resources.

But with final exams approaching, an apparent lack of open study spaces on campus is complicating their efforts, some students say.

The challenge of finding space in one of Purdue’s libraries to work with classmates has increased with COVID-19 restrictions that decrease the number of people allowed in a building. Some classrooms and computer labs have been locked completely, preventing students from using the space or resources.

One student, Richard Fu, a junior in the College of Engineering, said it confused him why some computer labs have remained open while others, specifically labs in Armstrong Hall, have been closed completely.

He used to spend most of his time working alongside fellow classmates in these computer labs, he said, adding that it feels as if an essential part of college has been erased.

“I used to spend most of my time there. I found that I often stayed there working on assignments, and was always one of the last people to leave,” he said. “These were the best environments to get homework done.”

Another student, Matthew Cochran, said a survey was sent to students in aeronautical and astronautical engineering asking if these labs should be reopened. He said he doesn’t think the survey results were ever shared with students, yet the labs remain closed.

“A few students have voiced concerns about the lack of public study spaces,” said David Kosakowski, president of the Aerospace Engineering Honors Society, Sigma Gamma Tau, “but their voices fell on the ears of faculty who are more concerned about enforcing the Protect Purdue protocol than the convenience of a study space.”

Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty had not yet provided answers to The Exponent at the time of publishing.

Cochran said department heads of aerospace and astronautical engineering had expressed that physical distancing in computer labs would be challenging. Leaders also worried that students would remove their face masks while working together.

It has not been determined whether these study spaces will open for the fall semester.

“I think we have done a pretty good job so far following Protect Purdue guidelines,” Cochran said, “and I think we could be trusted with being able to be in the labs and still follow the Purdue Pledge.”

The Exponent reached out to the Department of Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering, and had not yet received comment at the time of publishing.

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