The research question at the base of this research was “What are student attitudes towards Longwood University’s social distancing policy?” The dependent variable are student attitudes towards changes in policy and this was asked on a 0 (Not at all) to 10 (Extremely beneficial) scale judging how beneficial students believe the change in policy are at reducing the spread of COVID-19. The independent variable is Longwood’s social distancing policy and student respondents answered “Yes,” “Maybe,” “No,” and “Prefer not to answer” when asked if they knew someone who has attended a social event with 50 or more individuals who were not actively social distancing. The hypothesis for this research was as follows, “if social distancing is enforced due to COVID-19, then student attitudes will be negatively affected.”

The mean score for the dependent variable was 6.44 while the standard deviation was 2.41. This means about 68% of students answered between 4.03 and 8.85. This shows that answers gathered from student respondents on changes in student attitudes towards Longwood’s social distancing policy vary greatly.

Table 1

*Knowledge of students who have broken policy*

Knows someone who has broken the social distancing policy | Count | Percent |

Yes | 167 | 38.66% |

Maybe | 53 | 12.27% |

No | 199 | 46.06% |

Prefer not to answer | 13 | 3.01% |

Note. N=433

Table 1 shows out of 432 respondents 167 answered “yes,” 53 answered “maybe,” 199 answered “no,” and 13 preferred not to answer. The majority, 46.06%, came from student respondents who answered “no” to whether or not they knew someone who broke the social distancing policy by gathering in a group of fifty or more people. The second-highest percentage, 38.66%, came from student respondents who answered “yes” to knowing someone who has broken policy.

Table 2

*Mean self-ranked attitudes towards Longwood’s social distancing policy*

Knows someone who has broken the social distancing policy | Means of attitudes towards social distancing policy |

Yes | 5.93 |

Maybe | 6.75 |

No | 6.91 |

Prefer not to answer | 4.46 |

Note. N=433

Table 2 shows the comparison between student respondents to Longwood’s social distancing policy and student attitudes towards this change. The highest mean is for people who answered “No” to the question measuring if they do or do not know someone who has broken Longwood’s social distancing policy by attending a social event with more than 50 people who were not actively maintaining distance. The second and third highest are respondents who answered “Yes” and “Maybe.”

An independent sample t-test was run, and the mean found for “Yes” was 5.93, the mean found for “No” was 6.76, while the t-value found was 3.584. When the t-value is given, the p-value is also given which was .00039. The p-value is the probability of obtaining the results within the spread of data. Alpha levels, .5, .01, and .001, are constant levels of comparison to the p-value to find whether or not the difference found between the means is significant.

Table 3

* Independent samples T-test of student attitudes toward Longwood’s social distancing policy*

Attributes Mean T-value

Yes 5.93 3.58***

No 6.76

Note. N= 433, p < .05*, p < .01**, p < .001***

Based on my data in table 3, the p-value of .00039 is less than all three constant alpha levels so this means that there was a significant difference found between the means. In other words, we reject the null hypothesis and retain the research hypothesis.

An ANOVA was run comparing Longwood University’s new social distancing policy and student attitudes towards that change. Students were asked if they knew of someone who had attended a social event of 50 or more people who were not actively social distancing of the fall 2020 semester. They were also asked to rank how beneficial they believe Longwood’s changes in policy are on campus on a scale of 0-10 with 0= Not at all and 10= Extremely beneficial. The mean score of knowing someone who has broken policy was 5.93, while the mean score of knowing someone who has not broken policy was 6.91. When the ANOVA was run, there was an F-value found of 8.77 ***.

Table 4

*ANOVA of knowledge of students who have broken policy*

Knows

someone who has broken

the social distancing

policy Means F

Yes 5.93 8.77 ***

Maybe 6.75

No 6.91

Prefer not to answer 4.46

Note. N= 433, p < .05*, p < .01**, p < .001***

Table 3 shows an F-value of 8.77*** meaning there was a significant difference found at the .001 alpha level between Longwood University’s changes in COVID-19 policy and student knowledge of someone who has broken the new change in policy.

For these next tables, tables 5 and 6, there was a change in variables to support the data. The dependent variable stayed the same while the independent variable is now a new interval ratio, 0 (Not at all) to 10 (Extremely concerned), question where students were asked to rank how worried they are of potentially exposing their friends and family to the COVID-19 virus since returning to campus. These variables are related because if the policies enacted by Longwood University are not slowing the spread of the virus on campus, then students will be more concerned when going to visit friends and family.

Table 5

Regression of worry of exposing individual’s to COVID-19

Variable Coefficient S.E. R2

Worry of exposing

individuals to COVID-19 -0.021*** 0.039 0.001

after returning to campus

Note: N= 433, p < .05*, p < .01**, p < .001***

Above is a Regression run comparing Longwood University’s new social distancing policy and how worried students are of exposing friends and family to COVID-19 since returning to campus. Students were asked both of these questions in an interval ratio form. First, they were asked to rank how beneficial the policies Longwood has enacted are at reducing the spread of COVID-19 on a scale of 0-10 with 0= Not at all and 10= Extremely beneficial. And secondly, they were asked to rank how worried they are of potentially exposing their friends and family to the virus since returning to campus with 0= Not at all and 10= Extremely concerned. For every one unit increase in the worry of exposing individual’s to COVID-19 after returning to campus, there is a -0.021 unit decrease in how beneficial students believe the policies Longwood University has enacted are at reducing the spread of COVID-19. This finding is significant at the .001*** level. This regression model explains .1% of the variation in the worry of exposing individual’s to COVID-19 after returning to campus.

The original hypothesis stated, “If there are changes in Longwood’s social distancing policy, then student attitudes will be negatively affected.” But what the data shows us that the original hypothesis was incorrect. Throughout the survey, answers showed that students who know someone who has broken the “more than 50 people” rule feel the social distancing rule is working less than people who don’t know someone who has broken that rule. These results were proved even further with results from the independent samples t-test, ANOVA, and regression tests ran.