The World Health Organization has reported over 150,000 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 throughout the world with more than 1,500 of those cases in the United States.
There is nationwide panic due to how rapidly the virus is spreading, causing a domino effect into the closures of businesses, venues, and even schools. One of those schools is our very own Florida Atlantic University.
FAU has announced that students should not return to campus for at least two weeks following Spring Break and the campus has restricted guests from being on campus. In person classes have been canceled and will now be hosted on an online basis until at least March 27th.
However, for students that have stayed on campus either for convenience or work related purposes, it leaves the question as to how they are adjusting to these new accommodations.
For many, the answer to that question is: not well. The shut down has caused many students a great inconvenience in their work, travels, and daily living. The shut down has forced many on-campus resources to close early or to not be open at all.
“It is really hard when I am not able to work or go home and there aren’t a lot of food options available…I am not able to eat out or go grocery shopping given that I am mostly in the Atlantic Dining Hall for my meals,” Briana Wiggins, an Orientation Leader at FAU, said when asked about her adjustment to the new regulations caused by the virus.
For many on-campus students, the Atlantic Dining Hall and Breezeway Food Court are a main source of nutrition. Now with the business hours cut short, it has made it extremely difficult for students to find food during certain hours of the day.
Not only is the Coronavirus affecting student food sources, it is also launching its attack on students’ work schedules. Forced to choose between work or visiting family, a number of work study students are obligated to stay on campus to maintain their financial stability. “I’m an RA and I can’t even go home because I need my paycheck,” a student admitted frustratingly.
Being compelled to stay on campus for financial reasons has really put a hardship on those that wanted to visit their loved ones. Work study students were not left with a choice when they were faced with the fear of being out of work. “When the email was sent out, the first thing I did was text my boss to see if I could still come into work” Rachelle Saint Louis, the Psychoeducational Programming Director, stated.
Two weeks may not seem long to the average person, but for an on-campus worker two weeks is detrimental to their wages especially for students paid on a bi-weekly basis. Being out of a job for that long can create a domino effect for their personal life which can lead to a negative impact on a variety of things in their daily schedule. Without a good amount of funds to support them, they are left to fend for themselves.
Throughout the semester, the campus has been buzzing with excitement over the biggest events that were planned to take place in the upcoming weeks. Months of planning have gone into functions like The Step Show, Festival of Nations, Program Board Week and more, only to have it all canceled due to the Coronavirus. When Rachelle, an organizer of three events, was asked about how she felt about the cancelation of the events this is what she had to say; “I was disappointed. I understand why it needed to happen but it was still disappointing.”
All of that hard work thrown down the drain because of this epidemic is leaving students drained. Months of premeditated travel plans with friends or family have also been postponed leaving nothing but disappointment and frustration.
No cases of the virus have been reported on campus, yet several students have questioned whether or not the lockdown was necessary. When asked about his opinion on the lock down this is what Tykeem McCord had to say: “It’s not necessary. We as college kids want to do nothing more than to enjoy ourselves. So if they’re not closing the university indefinitely then kids are just going to find another place to go do the things that they want to do.”
Some find that the lockdown was unreasonable because it does not show how it can stop the students from going out during these times and coming back to campus. Even if campus did shut down completely, who is to say that it’ll prevent students from venturing around the city and distancing themselves from the FAU campus?
On the other hand, many students disagree. Some students like Joshua Fede, a front desk assistant, believe that the “lockdown significantly reduces the chances of contracting the virus.” Rachelle also added that “I know so many people who are still traveling and going to parties packed with people. No one knows who has it because testing isn’t readily available … that puts everyone else at risk.” Quarantine has been proven to be an effective tactic to slow the spread of the disease and for most students it’s a necessary step into keeping students and staff on campus safe.
People have been panicking over the virus, not realizing that their reactions are causing more damage in the long run. Health is a large aspect of what the virus is negatively affecting, but it also impacts students’ travel, work, and daily lives.
The Coronavirus has disrupted the flow of campus life and many wish for it to be over. New cases of it emerging everyday leaves universities with no other choice but to prepare for the worse. Fear for what other atrocities the virus may bring leaves the world in an anxious standstill, watching for what’s to come. Students can only hope that it all blows over in time for graduation.
This story was edited by Rachelle Saint Louis