Salve Regina University closed their dorms on March 13 for spring break. What wasn’t known by many students until the day before was they wouldn’t be returning until, at the earliest, April 13. Realizing the potential severity of the COVID-19 virus, my roommates and I began to act.
We cleaned out most of our dorm room and brought home nearly all our clothes. We were truly hoping that we were doing more work than necessary, but that hope would prove to be in vain. On March 20, the university suspended all activities on campus, and the semester was entirely transitioned to remote learning. Commencement has been delayed and all senior week activities have been terminated.
Many students who had left the university had planned to return. Their belongings left in their dorms, the university set up time slots for students to return to move out. Setting a limit for the number of people in a building at a given time, Salve Regina is making an effort to keep contact to a minimum.
Extending spring break by nearly one month came with little warning, creating difficulties for many out-of-state and international students.
“I’m really thankful that my roommate invited me to stay at his house for a while,” said Oskar Tullberg, a freshman who lives in Hong Kong. “It might be some time before I can get back to school to get all of my belongings.”
Unfortunately, not all international students fared as well. Another student, who wished to stay anonymous, is from New Zealand.
“It was tough. I was approved to stay in the dorms as I was scared to leave the country in case I couldn’t get back in, but I was on my own for food,” he said. “They left the campus store open -for me to buy instant meals. Now that spring break, or what should have been spring break, is over, we have access to the dining hall.”
The decision opens an entirely new set of challenges for these students. Traveling home and continuing their education will be a daunting task. Classes meeting on Eastern Standard Time add just another factor of difficulty for some adapting to the online classroom setting.
The integration of online classes has proved difficult for some, like nursing major Allie DeLuca, who is now faced with doing her clinical sessions online rather than at the hospital. “In place of our clinical sessions, we will take classes online from our book provider that will be considered our clinical,” she said.
The virtual classes are certainly a transition. With some professors utilizing technology to share their screen and go in-depth on topics, some lessons prove more valuable than one would expect from online classes. But, other classes are tedious, with technological issues and unfamiliarity with the websites. As the weeks go on, classes will become more streamlined as everybody settles in and familiarizes themselves with the programs and the transition to working from home.