By Lianna Hubbard
Shoppers raid grocery stores for toilet paper and rice. The elderly, cautious, and immune-compromised quarantine themselves. Bars and nightclubs shut down for 30 days across Florida on St. Patrick’s Day. Federal health authorities advise against gatherings of more than 10 people and encourage social distancing.
The U.S. is shutting down as coronavirus cases climb to 4,000 nationwide according to the Center of Disease Control’s March 17 report.
By the time readers see this story, that will be higher yet.
FSW is not immune from change.
The college shut down all of its campuses earlier today on March 18.
“The CDC was recommending that folks who are older and folks with possible immune issues due to long term health problems and folks who had recently traveled to foreign countries and folks who had come off cruises were all encouraged for different reasons to stay home and to take care of their health. We knew that that would cover a lot of FSW,” Eileen DeLuca, FSW’s provost, said a day before the campus closed.
Although students will not be allowed on campus, faculty will still have access to their offices. Students will be allowed back on campus on May 1.
The college suspended all in-person classes on March 13, days before it was set to return from spring break. Classes will resume completely online on Monday, March 23.
Student services like the libraries and advising remained open on campuses for three days after the college announced its class closure, to provide guidance for students during the transition.
On Monday morning, a whiteboard in Lee campus’s libraries read all of the activies students planned for spring break. Most talked about the beach, spending time with friends, and playing video games. Not many students came by to see how their real break compared.
The May 1 commencement ceremony was canceled. Dorm residents had 72 hours to leave their rooms. Offices for student services like advising, registration, and financial aid were closed. Faculty and administration meet virtually to discuss the future of the college.
“We very much want students and faculty to be able to complete the spring semester,” DeLuca said.
In the coming weeks little is certain, except that the situation will continue to change daily, and possibly by the hour.
This is an updated story.