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Coronavirus: Springfield College students react to coronavirus forum

Irene Rotondo

There was standing-room-only in the Dodge room of the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union on March 11. Students from all teams, clubs, classes and more filled the chairs all the way up to the very front row, keen to hear what Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper would announce relating to the current COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic currently sweeping the globe.

After preliminary remarks, Cooper stated that spring break, originally from March 13-22, would be extended by one week until March 29. Classes will resume on Monday, March 30. It is still unknown whether these classes will be in-person or completed online.

Cooper said that students should pack their personal items from dorms as if they were to be leaving for two weeks. If there is to be an extended period away from campus, Cooper told students that they would find a way to return to campus to collect the rest of their belongings.

The crowd erupted in cheers once Cooper said that the second week of spring break would not include classes.

Stacy Leonard, a sophomore in the PT program at Springfield, said, “The college handled the situation really well; they didn’t panic, I heard a lot of other schools are closing down for the rest of the year and Springfield is just feeling it out which is a really good thing.”

“For me, it’s not that big of a deal, since I live only two hours away and have easy access to come back if that’s the case… so for me, I think it’s being handled really well,” Leonard added.

For other students – especially seniors – the situation is definitely less than ideal.

Ricky Preston, health sciences major and senior, said, “The college handled this well especially compared to (the) other colleges shutting down for the whole semester, but me being a senior, I didn’t want this to affect graduation, because all I want to do is walk across the stage. It’s been a tough four years.”

“I think the extra week was valid, but I’m just anxious about how the online courses are going to work, because I know I have PEAC courses I’m doing, so I’m not really sure how that’s going to work,” Preston added.

Overall, students are excited for the extra time to relax, but are rearing at the gates to be able to come back to campus and continue their academic, athletic and social lives.

Photo courtesy of Evan Wheaton

Additional coronavirus coverage:

Mary-Beth Cooper on making tough decisions

Reactions from student-athletes on spring break trips being cancelled

Reactions from students on alternative spring break trips being cancelled

A look into decisions of schools surrounding Springfield College

A summary of the coronavirus forum and some Q+A transcription

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