Over the course of the last week, a significant amount of American lives have been drastically changed, due to the coronavirus, more commonly known as COVID-19, pandemic rapidly spreading across the United States.
On Thursday, March 12, the lives of Cabrini University students were altered when the university released a statement expressing that this semester’s classes would continue solely online. Athletic events are to be put on hold and all student activities have been canceled for the remainder of the semester. This news was especially concerning to Cabrini University seniors, whose college career has abruptly come to an end.
According to a statement sent out by Cabrini University’s president, Donald Taylor, “students have been given the option to remain on campus or to return home to finish out the school year.
Residence halls, dining facilities, academic support and student life services, the Dixon Center and Nerney Pavilion, and Holy Spirit Library will continue to remain open for students and Cabrini personnel.”
The statement also declared that “academic and professional placements, such as internships, practicums, and student teaching placements, will be conducted as long as their host continues to stay open.”
Lindsey Armanini, a senior education major, is currently completing her student teaching placement at St. Dorothy Roman Catholic School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. With everything going on in surrounding areas, St. Dorothy Roman Catholic School is remaining open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My biggest concern is that my student teaching placement has yet to close or send out any future plan for the pandemic while many surrounding schools and colleges have closed for at least two weeks or more,” Armanini said.
Many seniors are frustrated and confused with the choices made by the university’s administration. Alex Maiorana, a senior double majoring in communication and graphic design, is particularly concerned with the news.
“The Coronavirus closed down our school, but not really. We’re still able to move between buildings. We’re still being served food in the cafeteria. We’re still allowed to use the exercise equipment. To the best of my knowledge, the community members are still coming to gym as well, many of whom are elderly,” Maiorana said.
Maiorana noted that the decision will also affect academic life for many students.
What is the point of stopping all classes if we’re still going to allow people to interact, be social, and spread whatever they have on campus,” Maiorana said. “Not only that but we shut down classes for the whole semester. I have hands-on classes that are going to be difficult now, people have labs that now can’t be completed properly and important lectures can’t be given properly.”
Maiorana also expressed his concerns regarding the overall environment that remains on campus.
“We are living on a depressed, alcoholic campus now because the people who don’t care have left, and those of us who do care are stuck here with nothing to do but be miserable about the fact that we’ve been stripped of everything that we’re supposed to be able to enjoy,” said Maiorana. “People that I likely will not see again have left, it’s disappointing that the school can’t make a hard decision to just close the school if they are going to treat us like this anyway.”
Without knowing, many seniors have sat in on their last face-to-face college class, played in their last collegiate sports game, attended a meeting for their favorite club on campus, or have even participated in their last game of Big Prize Bingo.
Sarah McCarron, a senior criminology and sociology double major, is a member of the women’s lacrosse team. McCarron is worried about her senior season being put on hold, but is optimistic that season will continue in a few weeks.
“Honestly, it doesn’t bother me that classes are being moved online, I’m just pretty devastated about my senior season getting cut short,” McCarron said. “My heart goes out to all senior athletes and coaches because it’s just a hard time for all of us right now. All we can do is hope for the best, that they will reassess everything and maybe we can start playing again in April.”
One of the biggest challenges for students is that they are going to have to adapt quickly to classes switching to an online format. Cabrini University plans on taking the next week off so that both students, and faculty can make arrangements for classes to be solely taught online. Starting on Monday, March 23, classes will begin online and will stay that way for the remainder of the semester.
Not all, but some students are lucky enough to have already acclimated themselves to online classes. Jharriah Dixon, a senior majoring in education, has already adapted to solely online classes, but worries about the transition for her peers.
“I am already an online student. I lived on campus for three years and went online senior year. I am concerned for everyone going online though,” Dixon said. “I know how much harder it is to do it all online as opposed to face-to-face. A lot of people underestimate the course load of online classes.”
All senior students, especially those who do not live close to campus, are in a situation where they potentially have to pack up their belongings and leave the place that they have called home for the last three and a half years.
Among all other things, senior students are now stressing over whether or not commencement ceremonies will take place. As of right now, Cabrini University is planning that all commencement ceremonies will go as scheduled but that could change over the course of the next two months.
Natalie Wharton, a senior psychology major, is anxious that the commencement ceremonies, that she has been looking forward to since her freshman year, may not end up taking place.
“I am afraid that we won’t get to celebrate all of our hard work and dedication,” Wharton said. “We’ve spent four years studying here and may not have the opportunity to be recognized for our hard work.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and all of the repercussions that have come with it have taken Cabrini’s campus by whirlwind. Senior students are left surprised and anxious about what is yet to come.
“I am really surprised. I never thought in a million years that I would be leaving Cabrini under a very unexpected and unique circumstance,” said Michelle Tang, a senior education major. “Everything is happening so fast and it is just really bittersweet.”