Originally, I planned for my first post to be introductory. I wanted my readers to learn about me before we dove deep into the flow of HeavieTalk posts. Unfortunately, because of how current world events have impacted the normal flow of everyday life, I found it best to start there. Diving deep into a topic that is affecting not just me, but the whole world. The coronavirus.
The coronavirus disease or COVID-19 is an infectious disease which causes those infected to experience mild to moderate respiratory illness. The virus is spread easily when someone infected coughs or sneezes. There are no current vaccines or special treatments for COVID-19, so people are advised to practice respiratory etiquette and tips such as keeping your hands washed, to stay safe. This virus is dangerous because it spreads between people before the symptoms show up. The WHO declared the COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11th, after they concluded the easily spread virus would grow in numbers in countries worldwide. Today, March 23rd the virus has spread to 187 countries, with 294,110 cases and 12,944 confirmed deaths. With the virus still spreading, countries have had to adapt, creating their own course of action to slow its spread. The Pope shut down the Roman Catholic Church to decrease the spread. France has closed all theaters, malls, etc. indefinitely until they contain it. Professional sports teams like the NBA, NHL and MLB have suspended their seasons. Countries like China and Italy have been put on lockdown. Corporations have closed down, allowing employees to work from home. College campuses have closed down, forcing students to return home. The world is stalled. An indefinite period of quarantine has begun for everyone, me included.
Today, I am quarantining with my family. Normally, I would be in Greensboro, North Carolina, pursuing my Journalism degree at the illustrious North Carolina A&T, but because of the coronavirus, my university along with others, was shut down. My school year was brought to an end rather quickly. I, along with thousands of college students across the country have had their classes transitioned to online, using distance learning. The closing of schools, suspended face to face classes and forced students off of campus. In most cases, this decision was made and enforced within a 72 hour period. While everyone is being impacted in different ways, to different instincts by this virus, the effect on college students has been hard and maybe overlooked. Here are 5 ways college students are being affected by the coronavirus.
5 WAYS COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE BEING AFFECTED
1. SHORT NOTICE
Most universities gave students 3-5 days to move out of their on-campus or off-campus residences, causing problems for some students. Not every student has the resources or support from parents or a guardian, to be able to pack up and go home on short notice. This is especially difficult for students who live out-of- state.
2. NO SAFE HOME.
College, for some, is an escape from their home environment. It is common for students to leave the town they grew up in to escape a toxic environment and start somewhere fresh. This closing of college campuses has forced students to return to environments which may not be safe for them both mentally and physically.
3. HEALTH RISK
While the decision to close campus was to prevent the spread of the virus from student to student on campus, going back home may be risky too. Assuming that students returning are not already affected, it is a big possibility that they could become affected in their households.. The risk is expeditiously greater for students whose parents or guardians are older in age.
4. NO RESOURCES FOR DL
Distance learning requires the student to have an electronic device and internet connection to engage in their course. Not every student has the resources such as a computer or wifi to be able to complete their work. Because of the impact of the virus, places such as libraries and coffee shops, where students normally could go are closed. Without the right resources students are left in an impossible predicament. How are they supposed to complete their work?
5. WORKED HARD FOR NO REWARD
Most universities have cancelled commencement ceremonies. This is just another precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus. The cancelling of commencement ceremonies is heartbreaking for students who have worked hard for 4+ years to walk across the stage and celebrate with friends and family.
This outbreak is something no one has experienced before. The entire world is adapting and dealing with it together, as no one knows exactly what to do or what the future holds. This is a hard time for all, not just one specific age group, race or set of people. During this time, do not overlook how this virus could be affecting those close to you. Not everybody has a home to quarantine in, a family to spend it with or even the resources to be able to sustain a quarantine. Use this time to reach out to those around you, spread love, send prayers and stay safe.