With the coronavirus starting off as an unknown disease to being the cause of a global pandemic, many schools were forced to shut down halfway through their spring semesters, including Cabrini. Toward the middle of last semester, all classes were moved online, but students were given the option to either stay on campus or move back home. However, as more details about the virus surfaced, everyone had to leave campus for two weeks and then could come back if they wanted. At the last minute, Cabrini told the students that everyone had to leave campus and move back home for the remainder of the spring semester.
As students left campus earlier than expected and the semester came to an end, more details and statistics were released about the deadly virus, leaving many students with concerns for the upcoming fall semester.
“How exactly are the classes going to run this semester?” Michelle Piccone, a rising junior psychology major, said. “Are most of the activities planned for this year going to be canceled or will Cabrini find a way to accommodate that? How are the breaks going to work? Are we going to have them shorter, longer or relatively the same? Are the students going to have to get screened outside of every building and have to wear masks around campus as well as in face-to-face classes?”
These questions plagued many students aside from Piccone’s own curiosity about the uncertainties that the fall semester holds. Many questions that students have ranged from the set up of the classrooms to the cancellation of campus activities to the school’s regulations about wearing masks and social distancing.
A recent email was sent to all Cabrini students, faculty and staff with a detailed plan with a corresponding video outlying the new changes to the fall semester as COVID-19 forces drastic health safety changes.
The president of the university, Donald Taylor, had previously sent a brief email on Monday, June 22 only with some key changes in the fall semester. Such changes included
- Classes resuming on Monday, Aug. 31 with a mix of in-person, online and a hyflex modality
- Classes following Thanksgiving break will strictly be online
- The only holiday in which there will be no classes will be on Labor Day Monday, September 7
- Residence halls, Holy Spirit Library and dining services will remain open after Thanksgiving break to provide options for students
Students responded to this first email with concerns and eagerness for another, detailed plan for the fall semester. One student on campus was rather frustrated with this plan as she explained “Why would you believe that us going back to campus is productive when so much of Cabrini’s population is out of state? Why physically go to school for about three months and then return home to our families with all of the potentials of getting our families sick?”
A more in-depth email was sent to students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, June 30 detailing how the fall semester will be organized. A corresponding video was attached to the email that briefly summarizes the email. The email was broken into categories: Course modality and academic calendar updates, Use of face masks, Testing and monitoring, Residence halls, Move-In and Visitors, Dining services, Cleaning procedures and other safeguards and Other meetings/gatherings. Cabrini has also posted this email with the same in-depth plan on its webpage to ensure everyone is up to date on the plan for the fall semester.
One question that remains is the school’s plan if a student tests positive for the coronavirus. “If someone tests positive for COVID-19 and you were exposed to them, would you have to self-quarantine as well for 14 days?” a student had asked. More importantly, where does the person self-quarantine? Do they return home where they could infect their family, or do they stay in their dorm room and send the roommate back home?
Though many students still have questions about what they should expect in order to prepare for the upcoming semester, students are also relieved to know that the school is reopening and are taking the necessary safety measures needed in order to keep all students and faculty safe when they return to campus in the fall.
“I am glad the email was sent because I found myself getting a little impatient due to the fact that many other schools had already confirmed their plans.” one student said. “I am very relieved to know that students will be returning on August 31 and I accept the decision to remain at home after Thanksgiving break. I am now patiently waiting to hear what the school will have to say in regard to how campus life will function as well as how certain campus activities will proceed.”
“I think it’s great they’re trying to make sure we get as close to a normal semester as possible right now,” Griffin Hays, rising senior communication major, said. “It sucks that the circumstances are such that this is necessary but the fact that they’re trying is comforting.”
For recent and accurate updates on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s webpage for more information.