Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Not All College Students Have Been Able To Go Home After Classes Shifted Online


Over the last few weeks most U.S. colleges have shifted to online classes. Students were told to pack up their dorm rooms and continue learning from home, but not everyone's been able to go home. Think international students.

ANTONIO HAZBOUN: So I'm from Jordan. My country's actually on lockdown right now. There are no flights going in.


Antonio Hazboun is a junior at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He says he wasn't sure what to do when Northwestern shooed kids off its campus.

HAZBOUN: There was this week of tension where, like, I just didn't, like - I don't have any other options. I need to be allowed to stay. But I still don't know. Like, it's still up to the university to just completely deny my request to stay. And then I'm kind of screwed. I don't know where to go.

SHAPIRO: So he had to petition the school and explain his circumstances. Northwestern did allow him to remain on campus with a handful of other students.

KELLY: Williams College in western Massachusetts used a similar petition system. But senior Aanya Kapur - who didn't want to risk the two-day journey to Australia, where her parents live - did not have as much luck.

AANYA KAPUR: I was denied to stay.

KELLY: A student group at Williams organized an appeal process to give denied applicants a second chance.

SHAPIRO: But Kapur had her sights on a sublet near school with some friends and was afraid to lose both that and be booted off campus. Kapur says adjusting hasn't been easy.

KAPUR: I don't have access to anything, so I can't get food from the dining halls. I can't use the library. I can't use any of the public spaces.

KELLY: She and her roommates take a weekly trip to Stop & Shop in the neighboring town of North Adams to pick up groceries, and they spend the rest of their time indoors.

SHAPIRO: Other colleges have been more lenient with letting students stay, like Augsburg University in Minneapolis. There, leaving campus was optional. Patsy Thaiyieng is a senior.

PATSY THAIYIENG: I stayed on campus basically because I have, like, two brothers at home and two sisters at home, and then both of my parents live there, too. I felt like it would be too much for me to go home and to still be expected to, like, do school.

SHAPIRO: She says it was a bit of a relief, but she's still worried about the future.

THAIYIENG: Me and my roommate are going to grad school, and we don't know what that's going to look like. One of my roommates was going to do the Peace Corps, but that got, like, postponed.

KELLY: So college students and colleges, like the rest of us, are still working out the new normal, walking the tightrope of social distancing while trying to take care of the kids who need to stay on campus.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE XX SONG, "VCR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.