By Maddie O’Shea
The suspension of classes due to coronavirus concerns has shaped KU students’ experiences over the past week.
There was a lot of shock, but understanding, that came with the decision to suspend classes for two weeks and switch to online-only classes for the rest of the semester.
“I started to be a little worried because of how close to home it’s hitting us,” said KU student Lauren Poole. “It’s always a good thing to play it safe, especially with the amount of students we have and where they’re coming from.”
Another student, Courtney Morsatt, was in Disney World on spring break when she received the news about the two week suspension.
“I quickly realized how difficult this whole thing would be with classes now being online for a week and professors emailing trying to keep us on track,” said Morsatt. “It’s very hard keeping track of what is all due and what I should be doing without being in class physically.”
The most updated news from KU is online only classes for the rest of the semester. Previously, there was a two week suspension with an extension of spring break from March 15 to March 20 and online classes from March 23 to March 29. There are still many questions from students, and KU’s website will continue to be updated with more detail as time goes on.
At home, students are trying to make sense of upcoming coursework, internships and media coverage.
“Right now, I’m coping okay,” said Kathy Evans. “I’ve been working on homework and trying to figure out a couple plans for my internship while working at my job.”
Jena Boyer, a student with acute anxiety disorder, is trying to make sense of COVID-19, as it is a new virus.
“My family has been the biggest help,” said Boyer. “We’ve been doing movie marathons and cooking together to keep me busy so my anxiety doesn’t seem so big.”
Amid the constantly changing news, junior Jena Fowler is limiting her time on social media.
“I think it’s good to know what’s going on, but I don’t think it’s good to be paranoid,” Fowler said. “That’s what social media does to me at times like these.”
Claire Kondracki is doing the same, who feels as if lately we’re living in a movie.
“I feel like I can’t keep up with the news and developments that are continuously coming out. We really are just going to have to ride this out,” Kondracki said.
There are also concerns over the transition to online-only classes. The Center for Disease Control has declared cancellations for any social gathering of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. That certainly had influence over KU going online-only for the rest of the semester. Students weighed in on how that would affect classes.
Morsatt believes that while going entirely online would protect campus, it would also negatively change her senior year experiences.
“I feel like a lot of the classes and experiences, such as internships and clubs, would greatly suffer,” Morsatt said. “I feel like I wouldn’t get the same education I would if I were physically in classes.”
Fowler said otherwise. “I would 100% support that decision. I think this pandemic is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, and I think, to be on the safe side, going to online classes would be the best bet.”
There are other concerns students are worried about. One of the biggest is how internships and clinicals will be impacted. Some students have internships that benefit greatly from in-person experiences, and online-only classes cause a disruption.
“Since I am an education major doing clinicals and observations in the field, I feel I would really lose a lot of that in person clinical experience that I was looking forward to,” said Kaitlyn Groff. “I’m not sure how effectively some of my classes will translate online.”
Other students who are affected are KU athletes.
Marx is a KU field hockey player. She expressed sadness over the cancellation of all athletic games, practices and events.
“I can’t imagine having a season end this way let alone a career,” said Marx. “It’s very disappointing for me. I miss my teammates already.”
Regardless, precautions and closures such as KU’s is something the whole student body needs to deal with. While KU is affected in many ways to differing degrees, finding ways to cope is important.
“I’m coping by trying to stick to some kind of routine, even if it’s not the same as what I’m used to at school,” said Marx. “Spending time outside and finding ways to stay productive also helps.”