It has been roughly a month since the COVID-19 virus began to severely impact the daily lives of many people around the world. A couple weeks ago, the University of St. Francis made the decision to suspend all in-person classes, and shift learning to a completely virtual setting. Students and faculty are still trying to adjust to the changes and are many seniors, like myself, are coming to terms that our graduation ceremony will not go on as originally planned. On a positive note, however, the University of St. Francis has not recorded any official cases within the student body or affiliated community and many of the precautions taken by the University are done as a preventive measure to protect the USF community.
USF student Eric Kern feels that the university should have done more to prepare and help students and faculty, yet also feels grateful that the university is taking steps to protect the community, “We knew about the COVID-19 since December . [Granted,] it wasn’t as serious back then, but I believe the school should have used the first couple months [of the Spring 2020 semester] as a [transitional] period to get students prepared for [a potential] change.”
The biggest issue that the COVID-19 is presenting students at USF is from a financial standpoint. Many USF students have never taken an online course before and are struggling to decide whether to drop their courses or persevere until the end of the semester. Cost and time are big factors, as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted USF right at the midterm/spring break point. Also, many USF students are employed by the school through a work/study program which helps pay for annual tuition. Because the school has been closed, many of those student workers have seen their hours reduced or eliminated altogether. Finally, those students who have paid for room and board, a meal plan, and/or other fees (graduation, printing, technology, etc) are now unable to benefit from the services that they have paid for. As of April 1st, 2020, the University of St. Francis has not released a statement regarding these matters and it is unlikely there will be a refund given for any prepaid fees incurred.
Opinion is divided among USF students on whether or not the COVID-19 is as serious as it seems to be, and many are questioning if the precautions taken by the university, state, and federal governments are actually in people’s best interests. Regardless, USF student Brandon Leal put it best when he said, “It’s not about the cards your dealt, it’s how you play your hand.” The fact is that the vast majority of people are all relatively in the same situation and facing similar obstacles. The way each person handles it will determine if the experience will be stressful or an opportunity for growth. For example, I have taken up learning the Harmonica during the quarantine and I am also thinking about dusting off my old Heely’s and becoming a professional Heely stunt athlete.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the COVID-19 has infected 213,144 people in the United States, or about 0.06% of the country’s population. Of the 213,144 people affected, it is reported by the CDC that 4,513 people who had the virus have also died. That means if a person becomes infected with the COVID-19, they have a 98% chance of surviving. For comparison,
over 35,000 people are killed every year in car accidents, just in the United States alone, which means one is over five times more likely to die in a car accident than dying from the COVID-19.
The University plans to resume normal routines by the start of May if the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and sees no reason why the COVID-19 should affect the start of the Fall 2020 semester. The University is also determining whether or not to hold courses during the Summer 2020 term as well, and the university urges all students and faculty to visit https://www.stfrancis.edu/emergency-alerts/ for more details involving the COVID-19.