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College Students Discuss Challenges Of COVID-19 When Returning To Campus

(CBSDFW.COM) - As college students across Texas prepare to go back to school, this year they face the added stress of COVID-19 and changes coming from their universities. Each school looks to handle the pandemic differently.

CBS 11 News spoke to college students attending the University of North Texas, the University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M University and Rice University in a roundtable discussion, all to gather their thoughts on the upcoming school year.

"Before we even get to campus Rice has recommended us to go get a COVID test done if we test positive obviously stay at home," said Sachi Kishinchandani, a freshman headed to Rice this fall. "If we test negative, then we just continue to go to campus for the time being."

This differs from many other Texas schools and even the University of Oklahoma, where Senior Madissen Lewis said freshmen are being sent a rapid test to their home address, while upperclassmen have not been informed of a testing policy.

"I haven't heard of anything about this for upperclassmen. Somebody told me that it may be required, but I haven't heard anything about it," Madissen said.

A lack of communication from schools and universities has been a common theme over the past few months. Aside from testing confusion, Madissen said it has been frustrating to know she's paying for an in-person education with all the perks that come with the price tag, like sports, knowing they could be taken away.

"I will say that it's very frustrating. I mean the Big 12 hasn't said anything about football which obviously like we are going to a big football school that's like a part of the experience" she said.

It's been a challenging time full of change, but overall, they all said they've had months to mentally prepare. Madissen said while packing, she's left a majority of her things behind, just in case she has to head back home. But Nash Bland, a senior at Texas A&M, said despite the challenges of the past he's counting on his Aggie family to keep things feeling normal.

"This year you know it's definitely going to be a challenge to make things normal but I think A&M will come together," Nash said.

They also discussed the differences between being a senior versus a freshman this fall. Kyle Ball, a senior at the University of North Texas, said he feels sorry for Sachi whose experience may suffer at Rice.

"I feel sorry for the freshmen… but also, being a senior it's the last year to pretty much be in college, and have these experiences…but I really am hoping for the best," Kyle said.

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