News, On Campus, Top Story, Coronavirus Updates

As Campus Closes, Students React

Sophie Oliver, MCAS ’22, was running around the Reservoir when she got the news: 

University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. sent an email to the Boston College community announcing the transition to online classes. Immediately, texts flooded her phone. “Come back,” a text from Macy Amos, MCAS ’22, read. She looked up from her phone and sprinted back to her dorm. 

“So, when I got that text I was literally in the middle of my run… ” Oliver said, “I noticed there were a lot of other BC students at the Res and we’d all gotten the email like at the same time. And people just started crying and I was like paused at that point so I was just watching all of this chaos.” 

When she arrived back on campus, the scene was similar: Everyone was on their phones crying, Oliver said. 

By Sunday at 9 p.m., all BC residence halls will close, and—with the exception of those with special permission—students will be required to move out of University housing. 

Walking through Lower Campus around 1 a.m. on Thursday, Liv Sheridan, MCAS ’22, witnessed the disarray. Painted in red spray paint, Sheridan saw “Stay 2020” surrounded by handprints written outside of Lower dining hall. This morning, a power washer took to the paint, washing away the melancholy lament of the graffiti’s anonymous writers. 

Still, it’s the seniors who are taking over campus. Emma Llosa, MCAS ʼ20; Katherine Carroll, Lynch ʼ20; and Nia Coufos, MCAS ʼ20, danced outside of their Mod on Wednesday evening. They hung signs on their fence that read, “Happy senior week,” “I’m young and healthy—my parents aren’t,” and “Keep corona here.” 

As a senior, Llosa feels like she is missing out on end-of-the-year events.

“I thought if they sent us home it would only be for a couple weeks, not for the rest of the semester,” she said. “And now we don’t even have like a graduation ceremony or commencement ball. There’s been no notification about that. So it’s a wee bit f—ed up.”

Llosa, Carroll, and Coufos said that they are planning on fitting the rest of their senior year celebrations into the limited time they have left on campus. 

“It’s just sad, it’s a sad realization. Like I wasn’t emotionally prepared to leave college yet,” Llosa said.

Students dance on a table to Bad Reputation by Joan Jett. (Featured Image by Ikram Ali)

Llosa, Carroll, and Coufos also expressed frustration with the way the University handled the decision to close. 

“Northeastern said students could stay, and they already went on their spring break. We are in the most similar situation as them, and we’re outside of the city, so I don’t understand,” Carroll said. “They gave us less time to leave too than other colleges in the area, which is unfair. Like all our parents are upset.”

Llosa expressed concern that the novel coronavirus will spread further because college students are traveling home. 

“I feel like sending everyone across the country is worse than just letting us all stay here, especially since we already went on Spring Break, but I’m not an epidemiologist,” Llosa said. 

Jack Andreana, CSOM ’23, said his biggest takeaway from the announcement was sympathy for outgoing seniors. 

“I disagree with the decision,” Andreana said. “They’re sending kids back to places that have it much worse, particularly where me and Jackson here are from, which is New Rochelle, New York, Westchester County. The National Guard is just in my hometown.”

Andreana also expressed frustration with the University’s lack of communication throughout the week.

“I know a lot of international students are kind of screwed in the situation,” Andreana said. “They took forever to come out with any sort of information, and they’re not giving a lot of kids time for flights. It’s only four days they got to get out of here by. It’s a tough situation…Could have been handled better, but at the end of the day can’t really fix anything.”

Caroline Bald, MCAS ’23, discussed the possibility of returning students spreading the coronavirus to their respective regions. 

“I’m from Alabama so there are no cases there,” Bald said. “If there are any other students going back to places where there aren’t any identified cases, like we could be patient zero.”

Bald said that sending students away on such short notice was difficult for some financially.

“I think it could’ve been handled better,” she said. “I mean Harvard let their students know a couple of days ago, and we didn’t get any information until today. It kind of sucks for people who don’t have the financial resources to get back home within the time period, especially for kids who come from far away.”

Still, through the semester’s tumultuous events, BC students aren’t planning on wasting any time. A Facebook event is currently circulating with 956 people invited to celebrate Marathon Monday earlier than usual, making it Marathon Friday. With a 6 a.m. start time on Friday, the event instructs students to not only make the tradition happen before students leave campus, but to “rage.” Dining halls were swept clean as students attempted to use their meal plan money before leaving. BC Memes for Jesuit Tweens, a Facebook group dedicated to memes, burst with coronavirus closing related content. 

“It shows that we’re lucky because everybody loves it so much,” said Jackson Goodman, CSOM ’23, about the student activities after the announcement. “That it’s not a place we want to leave.”

Rachel Phelan, Julia Kiersznowski, Megan Kelly, Emma Healy, and Olivia Charbonneau contributed to reporting.

Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor

March 13, 2020