The University of North Alabama (UNA) announced that students would be moving to online class during the week following their previously scheduled spring break on Friday, March 13.
Due to the concern that students would come in contact with COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, while traveling during spring break, the university decided that this was the safest option for its students.
While classes might not be meeting in person for the foreseeable future, the virus has affected many students’ spring break plans.
“I am a part of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and our southern regional conference was during spring break,” said student Melcha Satchel Jr. “[Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is] not going to Mobile, we are choosing to save the money because it got rescheduled to the summer time.”
The cancelation of Alternative Break trips also affects students.
According to the Alternative Breaks page on the UNA website, the trips to Peru, Honduras, Hubert, N.C., and Mayville, Mich., have all been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I was going to volunteer at The Fowler Center in Mayville, Michigan,” said student McKenzie Hamby. “I did not lose any money. Alternative Breaks will give me a refund. However, the refund will not be given until after spring break.”
With the knowledge of the risks and dangers this virus holds, many large corporations and businesses have closed their facilities for the time being, including Disney World and Disneyland.
“My family had plans to attend Disney World,” Deja Rutland said. “All Disney parks will be closed March 16 through the rest of the month, seizing all plans for not only our spring break trip, but many other families. If I had a choice to go, I definitely would still go.”
On the other hand, some students are not changing their spring break plans as of now.
“The virus has actually made me want to go on a spring break due to the amount of people not going anymore,” said Chase Smith. “I am saving so much money right now due to the drop in airline prices and rent in vacation spots. Originally the plan was to stay home and save money. Now it’s to go to Miami due to flights being so cheap.”
In addition to spring break concerns, students have expressed concern for their classes moving to online due to the universities precautions against COVID-19.
“My CIS (Computer Information Systems) class does not allow me to use my MacBook and if I plan on going to the library, my only worry is that it will be a large gathering of people,” said Satchel.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests for everyone to take precaution and practice social distancing. This is difficult for students when they and their professors had no time to prepare for this change in the classroom.
“I was supposed to have two exams the week of online classes, so my professors haven’t decided if we are still having them,” Smith said.
On Monday, March 16, the university began the move to online classes and remote learning. Professors had little time to transition their curriculum from in person classes on online learning. Now, lectures, quizzes, exams, projects and more must be explained, taught and turned in completely virtually.
“I am a fashion major and we are a lab based class,” Rutland said. “We have our sewing machines, fabric, and so many other things provided by the school. It’s hard to ask your teacher a question about sewing, when she can’t physically see what we are doing. If we don’t have a sewing machine at our home, how will we even be able to complete our work?”
Furthermore, students are not only worried about the transition of their classes to an online format, but also for the coronavirus as a whole.
“I am frustrated with all of the chaos and change implemented because of the virus,” Hamby said. “Although, I do know that these precautions are being taken for the safety of myself and others.”
Many people are more concerned with the mass hysteria that COVID-19 has caused, than the virus itself.
“Right now I feel like this is a zombie apocalypse with how everyone is reacting,” Rutland said.
“The coronavirus is causing a ripple effect in the market,” Smith said.
Many are going out to grocery stores and pharmacies and buying as much as they can. Daily necessities, like toilet paper have now become hard to find no matter where you go.
“I see no point in the hysteria of people buying up and hoarding all the water and paper products from stores,” said student Mason Nelms. “If anything, they are making things worse for people who actually need those products.”
While the UNA community does not know how long it will take for the university to return to normal, UNA’s faculty, staff and student body have the power of adaptability.