How the JPL is handling COVID-19

Preston Bigley, Staff Writer

The John Peace Library at UTSA is a vibrant environment that resembles the core values of San Antonio. Specifically, the JPL is known for seamlessly meshing students together from all different backgrounds, bringing them toward a common goal of receiving a higher-level education. Each floor level of the JPL is unique; for example, the first floor is the heart of the college dining experience. 

Simultaneously, the second floor offers students state of the art desktops, face-to-face information desks, and a quiet space for students who need solitude to study. The third floor is known for its study rooms and long tables where study groups can connect through academics. The fourth floor is the “social floor,” where students of all classifications, majors and affiliations come and connect socially. 

However, similar to other parts of UTSA, the JPL has been significantly affected due to the COVID response. For example, the services desk that so many students rely on to check out technology, textbooks, and even board games is currently unavailable to limit contact tracing. Furthermore, the JPL has completely cut off access to the third and fourth floor; while restricting food consumption to the first floor only. Therefore, students do not have the opportunity to browse the book section on the third floor, utilize the long study tables or socialize on the fourth floor. 

During weekdays, the JPL is a 24-hour library; however, due to COVID restrictions, the JPL closes significantly earlier. Consequently, the hour changes have debilitated the night owls that roam UTSA. However, these time changes and location restrictions are not the only new normal of the JPL.

For example, facemasks and social distancing are required, and there are workers readily available to enforce these rules. Another change due to COVID is the capacity limitations of people allowed inside the JPL. Students and faculty may view this information online or at the front doors. 

The JPL has always been and will always be the heart of UTSA. Although currently, students may not experience the JPL’s unique warm environment to its fullest extent, the JPL has done a tremendous job bringing the COVID response to fruition.