7/1/2020, Stewart center, Social Distancing Prep

A conference room that doubles as a classroom on the second floor of Stewart Center has chairs spaced out across the room to promote proper distancing.

More than half of surveyed students coming back to Purdue in the fall said they feel safe returning to campus, according to a Purdue Student Government survey. 

Of the 1,364 respondents to the survey, 52% said they felt it was extremely unlikely that students will social distance appropriately outside of the classroom, with only 2.29% saying they find student adherence to these guidelines extremely likely. 

About 80% of student respondents said they plan to take in-person classes in the fall. The majority of their reasons though were not because they felt it was safe, but rather that they learn more effectively in person, want to return to campus to see friends or participate in extracurriculars. 

The survey also addressed student concerns about dining for the coming semester. More than 70% of students said they feel their meal plans won’t be worth the cost. Others were worried that long wait times to get into dining courts would increase their risk of exposure to the virus. Many respondents showed support for the concept of dining in tents set up outside of the dining hall, but expressed concern for these during bad weather and winter months.  

Another concern was the cost for students to use quarantine housing provided by Purdue. Students anticipated their peers not properly quarantining due to the high price tag of the University-provided housing, which will cost $800 for 14 days of quarantine prior to the beginning of the school year, according to Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty. 

A common theme among the responses was wanting more information from the University. With many specific details still unknown and move-in dates looming closer, students expressed their displeasure with what they see as a lack of communication on Purdue's part about what the upcoming semester will entail. 

“We pay so much money to go to this school, not to be treated lesser than American citizens,” one international student wrote in the survey. 

International students as well expressed fears of discrimination on campus. Some students said they worried Asian and Asian American students would be targeted because of their race and the fact that the initial outbreak of COVID-19 came from China. Others questioned the safety of returning to campus given the riots and protests across the country in the weeks since George Floyd’s death. 

Other common questions students asked in the survey were published in the report released Thursday, and are as follows:


  • How will students continue classes if they contract COVID-19 during the semester? 

  • What if students have in-person classes like labs but have to self-quarantine?

  • How can students receive Disability Resource Center accommodations for online exams?

Residential life

  • If students are sent home again, will they receive a refund?

  • Can students have visitors in their dorms?

  • What does the quarantine process look like?

  • Can students live on campus in the spring if they choose to take the fall semester online?

Protect Purdue Plan

  • What will happen if students don’t follow the Protect Purdue Plan guidelines?

  • How many positive cases of COVID-19 will it take before Purdue closes campus?

  • How will the Protect Purdue Pledge be enforced?

International students

  • Where and how do international students quarantine upon their return in the fall? 

  • Is quarantine for international students self-facilitated or will it be a Purdue or governmental process?


  • Will buses be sanitized on a regular basis?

  • Will buses be de-densified, or run on increased intervals?

The survey report did not answer any of these questions, though some have been addressed on the Protect Purdue website.

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