With cold weather, the days of playing spikeball on the lawn are fading quickly. Safely hanging out with friends is still possible, however. 

The Pandemic Task Force has encouraged students to meet each other outside so far this school year to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but the weather is changing as it gets closer to the end of the year. 

“Colder temperatures are definitely on the way, so we are recommending that students try to use the tents as much as possible,” said Gilberto Perez, vice president for student life and chair of the Pandemic Task Force. 

“Students that choose to stay inside for their gatherings are required to wear a mask and do physical distancing. In residence halls, students are required to wear masks in hallways and in the restrooms. Roommates should continue doing what feels comfortable for them while in their room.”

This could mean a number of things for groups and clubs. While there are five tents up right now, two of them will be coming down on Oct. 20. The other three will be up for as long as possible, according to Perez. 

The Goshen College music department is getting creative as ensembles hope to continue rehearsing with the changes in temperature. 

“As the temperature cools, we’ll move the ensembles inside the Music Center, using four larger spaces to rehearse two choirs simultaneously,” said Scott Hochstetler, professor of music. 

“Each choir will rehearse for 30 minutes and then the choirs will change venues to let the first venue air out for 20 minutes. For sure, Sauder [Concert Hall] and Rieth [Recital Hall] will be used. We’re still deciding on the other venues, but they will likely be the choir and orchestra rehearsal spaces.” 

Changes are also coming to the Westlawn Dining Hall. 

“There is a 30-minute eating window for students dining in Westlawn. Students can make a reservation through the GET App or arrive and be seated,” said Jeremy Corson, director of AVI Fresh. 

“We have the reservation system set up but have not yet enforced it due to popularity of the green box to-go program. Once it turns colder, there will be some added census in the dining hall but we will have a good bit still just come and get what they need and leave using a green box. It’s a very safe option for getting a meal and staying socially distanced.”

The changes won’t be going away any time soon at the dining hall and the safety guidelines at the Leaf Raker Café are also here to stay.

“All protocols will be remaining the same for the start of the spring semester in food service. GET Mobile ordering, reservations, face coverings and social distance measures are remaining in place in the dining hall and Leaf Raker spaces,” Corson said. 

Perez understands that we are all affected by the coronavirus right now. 

“This pandemic is with us for a while and we must continue to find ways to refresh our minds and our soul,” Perez said. 

“It’s a hard time for all of us, but if we work to reach out to others for support, we will feel better. This isn’t normal, but hopefully the more we practice the Big Four and practice self-care we will be able to get through this pandemic with positive mental health. And who knows, we might end up with a homemade skateboard and homemade cookies to eat while we roll across campus.”