Life During an On-Campus Lockdown
By: Christina Corbisiero
It’s been a little over two weeks since there was a COVID-19 outbreak on my campus. Although there have been some disputes about how an outbreak happened...it can most likely be traced to some students who were off-campus and held some gatherings of more than 15 people (also known as parties/darties). If we weren’t in a pandemic, those Instagram pictures of rooms filled with 30 people in matching outfits drinking spiked seltzer would’ve been fun, but in 2020 it’s seen as selfish and scary. My college was very fortunate to not have to completely shutdown (other schools haven’t been as lucky), but we now have been on lockdown for a few weeks. Some students who live close to Rhode Island went home to either recover from the virus or stay away, others tested positive or were contact traced and are living in a hotel for at least 10 to 24 days, and others like myself are living on or off-campus and can’t leave.
There’s definitely a lot of cons to life on campus right now. We have had all our classes completely on zoom for the last two weeks, and possibly for at least one more. Although I don’t mind staying in pajamas or sweats all day, I did like going into class at least one time a week (with a mask on of course!). Hybrid classes aren’t the same as the typical class experience, but it brought hope at the possibility of returning to some type of normal. My apartment-mates and I take turns doing our classes in our rooms, living room, and kitchen counter. All our buildings are closed on the weekends except for our cafeteria, and student-center (which has our Dunkin i.e a key New England staple). During the week our business school can be used as a study space, and for printing, but is locked on the weekends. Unfortunately, our library also has been closed this entire time, so we can either do our homework outside in the study spaces, on the lawns/greens, or in our rooms. Life’s a little boring, as we can’t leave the campus, there are no planned activities that aren’t over zoom, and we can’t go to the gym.
There is some light in this time for those of us on campus, starting with testing negative for the virus. Prior to the outbreak, my college was only testing students randomly; so some students would go weeks without getting tested, others were being tested a few times a week. We’ve been getting tested every week now, which brings more peace of mind and also catches the positive cases quicker. The lawns are almost always covered in students laying on blankets and wearing masks. In a pre-COVID semester, you would see students on every part of campus, but lately, it’s been very barren, but with the lockdown, more students have been taking advantage of the Autumn sunshine.
My roommates and I have been keeping ourselves entertained. We have been watching lots of movies (such as Star Wars, Halloweentown, and Hocus Pocus), baking cookies, watching the presidential debates, and learning how to cook new things. During the week, it’s easier to focus on your homework when your jobs are put on hold, activities canceled, the gym is closed, and you can’t leave the campus. We have been creative and challenged a room where our friends live to a game of manhunt across the campus. We had a no-touching rule, and masks were worn the whole time, but it was still one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a while. During the week, I have found myself putting more hours into my homework than I normally would, but the trade-off is there are not many other things I could do besides reading, go on Tik Tok, go for walks/runs, and watch television. Ultimately, it’s better to be bored on campus, but spending time with my friends after the five-month stay at home order has been good.
Although this has been a non-traditional semester, the only way that colleges can go back to normal is if the student body actually cares about each other, and the surrounding areas. Yes, I miss parties in basements, and going to sports events; but that’s written in my fate for 2020. Many colleges, like my own, are wealthy private institutions in low-income areas; and although many students can afford to go home, they leave the virus with them behind when they infect the local neighborhoods. I am excited for the lockdown to be over (I have dreams about eating at restaurants), but when I do leave campus I will be wearing masks, washing hands regularly, and bringing sanitizing wipes with me everywhere. Yes, it’s been annoying not being able to leave campus, but if it’s in a conscious effort to flatten the curve at my college; I’ll do my duty as a student to ensure the safety of myself and others around me.