How the coronavirus is affecting students on campus


Image Courtesy to The CT Mirror

Asia Arce, Editor In Chief

On March 11th, the University of Hartford sent out an email detailing how four students have “self isolated themselves after attending a conference out of state”. They also added, “The CDC did not require or even recommend they self-isolate, only self-monitor. With their cooperation and out of an abundance of caution, they returned home.”  The University wants to make it known to students, faculty, and staff that the “possibility that our students were exposed is extremely low”, however, as mentioned before with the isolation of the students, the University will be taking precautions.

This Thursday and Friday, the University will be testing out the idea of online classes in case the school does decide to close. However, the idea of online classes leave some students worried, as they feel that it will not be able to provide them the best learning experience. Spencer Ross Gardner Olson, who is currently taking a circuitry and electronic class this semester, wonders just how much he is going to learn if school gets closed. “I probably would not be able to do any of them [sic]”. He is referring to his labs he takes in which he also feels as if it will be hard to learn without actually conducting the physical lab.

While some students are worried about their classes, others are worried about their travel plans. Federico Sarno, a senior, is an international student from Italy and detailed his plans for spring break. “It would not make much sense to go anymore”. He is referring to his plans to go back to his home country of Italy, which is now at a Level 3 Alert. UHart has prohibited traveling to countries with a Level 2 and 3 Alert. Those countries include China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and Italy. If students do plan on traveling to said countries, they have to self isolate themselves for 14 days and inform the University of those travel plans through a link that was previously emailed out.

While Federico Sarno is figuring out his next move, another student wonders where exactly he will be staying. Senior, Zac Benares, shared his concern regarding the possibility that residence halls may close as well. “I was planning on going back to Hong Kong, but obviously it’s not safe. I am worried about where I will stay”. UHart has not yet responded to “The Informer” regarding what will happen to the residence halls if the school closes.

Students that choose to stay on campus during spring break, however, must register with a link the Dean of Students, Aaron Issacs, sent out in an email Wednesday evening. In the email Issacs also goes on to explain that students should continuously check their emails, over the break, to stay up to date with news regarding the school. He also explains that during the break,  “meal plans or dining dollars will not be operational, and dining services will be limited”. Lastly, he asks students, who are leaving to, “please take out your trash and remove all perishable foods, vacuum, sweep or mop, wash dirty dishes, close and lock your doors and windows”.

The University also urges all students to bring home everything they may need for classes, as well as personal items, just in case they decide to go through with the closing. In fact, this same message is being broadcasted on TV screens throughout the residential halls to remind students, such as in Regents Park.

If the University does close, it will be following in the same steps as other Connecticut campuses. Schools like Norwalk Community College, Quinnipiac University, Sacred Heart, CCSU, Yale, and others have shut their doors for the time being. Like UHart, they plan to utilize an online platform in order to continue teaching classes.

As of right now, Spring Weekend, which is set to commence from April 17th to the 18th, is still in motion, according to Lisa Cote the Assistant Director of Engagement, Support, and Development. In terms of other campus events those apart of the Campus Activities Team have yet to reach back to “The Informer”.

Public Safety is also reacting to all of the potential updates regarding the campus and coronavirus. “Public Safety has a comprehensive plan of procedures that has been modified for the current situation. They regularly communicate with local law enforcement agencies and healthcare providers, and will be able to turn to these resources and partners in case they need assistance.”

Stay tuned for more updates regarding the school and how it plans to deal with this new pandemic, the coronavirus.