After a series of increasingly cautionary emails in which visitors were prohibited from entering campus housing and students who had traveled to areas affected by the novel coronavirus were asked to alert the school and possibly self-quarantine for 14 days, Muhlenberg College announced that campus will be closed from Mar. 14 at 2 p.m. to April 13. Students and faculty alike were alerted about this change via email at 8:46 p.m. on Mar. 10.
Currently, students are not being asked to move completely out of their dorms. Some students, such as those who live over 300 miles away, do not have Internet access at home, live in an area severely impacted by COVID-19 or have another extenuating circumstance will be allowed to remain on campus.
Classes will be canceled on Monday, Mar. 16 and Tuesday, Mar. 17. They will resume online on Mar. 18.
Upcoming performances, such as The Bacchae and ‘Berg Fringe, will not be performed as initially scheduled. Instead, students and faculty have organized impromptu performances on Thursday night, Mar. 12. Studio shows are set to perform from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., after which The Bacchae will hold an open dress rehearsal in Empie Theatre at 9:00 p.m. An impromptu Performance Festival will then occur from 11:30 p.m. to roughly 2:30 a.m. in Baker Theatre, organized by Thomas Miller ‘20.
In the ‘Berg sports world, the softball team will still play their double header on Thursday, Mar. 12 and Friday, Mar. 13. The players themselves are unsure as to how the season will proceed.
We at the Weekly will continue to publish updates online over the next month, as well as perspectives from our editors and writers as to how the impact of COVID-19 is being felt in their communities. We will also publish some of our more regular content — expect to see op/eds (both silly and serious), local show reviews and sports updates in this space.
For now, we’re gathering student voices in the wake of this catastrophic announcement and will be updating this article throughout the rest of the week. To hear them, read below.
“I’m from China … since I have no option, I’m going to stay [on] campus, and I know the school is really taking action to plan all the online classes since I’m working in the Digital Learning Team. So I know that the study will still go on … I feel really sad, but like I’m kind of accepting this because in China, this already happened in December. So I’ve been living under this panic for several months … I’m just texting [my family] every day. The situation in China is getting better; my parents, they are back into work, and my brothers and sister, they’re going back to school. Everything [is] getting better.” — Shuhong Tang ‘23
“Honestly, it’s a little overwhelming just ‘cause of the short notice, and it’s been really stressful just trying to figure everything out, but I also see both sides of things, being cautious … also, just being my senior year, it’s been a little rough knowing that it’s being cut short, but honestly, we just gotta take one thing at a time and see where it leads.” — Ruby Ortiz ‘20
“I’m feeling very stressed because I feel like I still have to think about, like, what I’m gonna do. And even though I figured it out now, the last 24 hours have been stressful because it’s like figuring out what I have to do on top of school still happening right now … I think I’m gonna stay here because … I’m from far away; I’m from a place where coronavirus is really prevalent. There’s also like the academic side of it … I’m used to this academic environment, and switching to online classes is something that I’m really nervous about how it will affect my academic performance … We’re all used to this environment, and then just to completely switch to a different type of learning is hard, and you won’t have the resources you used to such as tutors on campus or being able to ask your teachers questions in person or even just like how it affects students’ mental health. Yes, I don’t have an intense circumstance where I need this to be the place I call home in my legal address, but it is still my home.” — Finnley Kafer ‘21
“It feels really surreal. We were in Scotland this morning. At 3:30 [a.m.], our Muhlenberg professor Dr. McEwan woke us up; my first instinct was, ‘Oh crap, we overslept breakfast.’ He informed us that we would be leaving [Edinborough] in 6 hours to fly into Dublin, and that we might have to leave Europe in 48 hours … When we were doing the highlands tour the day before, none of us talked about what was hanging over our heads. We were having such an amazing day. It’s crazy that that is what our last day actually was because it felt so perfect. And unspoken that it was so fleeting … I’m an Irish citizen, and everyone was saying I’m lucky because I didn’t buy tickets, and I could potentially stay here. I’m super uncomfortable with that because the Irish health services [were] full before COVID (like people being served in the hall full) … Trump could really say anything tomorrow and it would change my circumstances [completely] … I’m disappointed because I’m just not done here … We knew we would be leaving soon, but I really thought we had maybe a month left. I’ve got to see my family a lot, but I’m scared that maybe I won’t see my nan again. But what really makes me emotional is that currently, all the Irish students are celebrating their run today with drinks! We are all just celebrating and living.” – Niamh O’Donovan ’21, abroad at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland