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Physical Proximity and College Student Interaction Network Continuity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mon, April 12, 9:30 to 10:30am EDT (9:30 to 10:30am EDT), Division J, Division J - Section 2b Roundtable Sessions


College students’ campus-based academic and social networks experienced profound disruption in Spring 2020 when institutions implemented emergency online education and many students experienced changing residences. This study examines students’ social and academic network change immediately following social distancing policy implementation at one institution to investigate the role of residential and classroom physical proximity in students’ network composition and continuity. Initial results suggest that network continuity and composition have differing relationships with students’ change in self-reported learning, sense of community, and social satisfaction. Lack of continuity in students’ relationships affected their perceptions of learning, while decreases in the number of relationships affected sense of campus community and social satisfaction.