By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The pandemic has forced colleges and universities in our area to get creative. Saint Joseph’s University is adapting to the new normal.

It’s anything but a traditional classroom setting, in anything but a traditional year.

“I think being outside makes me not think about the virus and we’re outside,” said Professor Susan Liebell.

Staff members at St. Joseph’s University have created a tent where students can learn in a safe outdoor space.

(credit: CBS3)

The coronavirus pandemic has forced campuses around the country to rethink and rearrange in-person learning.

“The tent came up as an idea, really because we were purchasing other tents for alternative dining and many of our faculty thought this would really be a really safe environment,” said Professor Peter Norberg.

Students are adapting to their new campus reality.

“I enjoy it a lot. Being outside hasn’t been too bad at all, it’s definitely a change of pace from being in a traditional classroom,” said sophomore Daniel O’Connell.

Staff members at St. Joseph’s say the weather hasn’t been a factor just yet, but they say there are contingency plans to try to preserve this outdoor setting.

“We’ve been incredibly lucky so far. The weather gods have been with us and on the few days when we’ve had to do small group work and we have been on Zoom, have been the rainy days,” Liebell said.

“In addition to the outdoor classroom, we have enhanced technology, we’re offering hybrid, hyflex, anything and everything to improve the learning experience here,” Norberg said