By Jessica Hernandez Blanco
The month of March came and went, leaving the Barry community heart broken. On-campus life concluded early for the Spring 2020 semester, as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic strengthened worldwide.
Empty buildings, nursing students’ graduation moved to April, and a postponed Spring commencement ceremony are what the pandemic has brought to the Barry campus.
COVID-19 first became a public concern in January, although it did yet not represent a national or global threat.
The Buccaneer has been actively tracking the progress of COVID-19. A report warning the Barry community about the disease and prevention was released on Feb. 25. At that point, Florida was not in immediate danger of COVID-19, although there were some confirmed cases in the United States.
Barry’s campus became deserted after spring break. On March 12, President Mike Allen announced that face-to-face classes would be over at the end of the week. Since then, classes have resumed in an online format.
This decision led to the necessary adjustment of both students and professors, as both must now navigate Canvas as their primary communication method for the remainder of the semester.
Senior nursing student Nathalie Ayes was not surprised by this outcome. She believed COVID-19 would have become a greater threat if precautions were not taken.
Ayes believes that Barry’s nursing school has handled the situation well. Clinical rotations had finished prior to Barry going remote and service-learning requirements for her general education classes have been substituted by case studies.
Deanna Caliste, a junior studying biology, agrees that Barry officials and professors are making a good efforts during this crisis. However, Caliste did think students could have had more time to be prepared.
"I do feel that students should have possibly had a whole week off instead of just three days to better prepare and transition to remote classes,” said Caliste. “A lot of students had to travel back home and were still doing so when the remote classes started.”
Thankfully for her, Caliste was not living on campus at the time, so her transition was made easy.
On the other hand, Joelle Lusambo, a senior international studies student, is having some trouble with the transition. At first, Lusambo didn’t see how COVID-19 could affect her life directly. Now, all the changes it has brought to the Barry community have proved otherwise.
“I miss school being open,” Lusambo said.
Longing for school to be open again, necessary adaptation to online classes, and entering the job market under these circumstances are some of the big challenges Barry students and professors are currently facing.
However, Barry University has strength built into its core. The community has survived many hardships, yet none have been able to tear down its spirit. COVID-19 will prove no different.