University of Delaware’s campus is currently closed for spring break through March 29./Photo by YU-JEN SHIH on Flickr
The University of Delaware is at the center of the state’s first coronavirus cases, with at least seven cases in Delaware connected to the Newark campus. Here, graduating senior Julia Lowndes shares a first person take of the virus’ impact on campus.
On the morning of March 11, my fellow students at the University of Delaware half-jokingly declared our university an impenetrable force.
Unlike nearby states and universities, Delaware had managed to avoid any cases of COVID-19 as news of positive cases around the U.S. began to be announced. As schools around us shut their doors, we were bewildered by our turn of fate. “Looks like even Corona doesn’t know where Delaware is,” one student joked
A few hours later, it was clear we had spoken too soon. Delaware announced its first case of COVID-19 that day, and students and staff were blindsided by our administration’s swift reactions.
Professors discovered that classes had been canceled in the midst of giving lectures. Some students began packing bags and heading home for an early spring break. Others lined up on Main Street for $3 “immunity shots” from Grotto’s.
Only a few days later, the university officially canceled all in-person classes for the rest of the semester. As seniors, my friends and I watched despondently as our “lasts” disappeared from our grasp. We would never experience a final lecture or last dinner in the dining halls; even graduation became a lingering question mark.
View Delaware Today‘s COVID-19 coverage here.
It feels wrong to worry about such things as a virus rips through our world but watching the early stages of COVID-19’s spread is like living in limbo. We’ve seen its effects in other countries, and now it’s only a matter of time until we see it here.
Since Delaware’s first positive diagnosis, my campus has existed on contrasting planes: our administration tells us to practice social distancing, but in this time of anxiety, students are more eager than ever to spend time together.
While my peers and I are still processing the depth of the university’s decisions, I firmly believe that now is no time for resentment. COVID-19 has redefined our idea of a normal college experience, but this pandemic reaches far deeper than that.
Though Delaware wasn’t the impenetrable force we imagined it to be, we still have the ability to protect those at risk by making smart choices. And we’ll keep our fingers crossed for graduation.
For official updates from the University of Delaware regarding the current status of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on the University community, visit udel.edu/home/coronavirus.