By Theo Ekiyor & Bryana Cielo
Contributing Writer & Editor in Chief
This past week, Sacred Heart University announced its decision to cancel planned overseas trips and to bring back 17 students currently studying abroad at John Cabot University in Rome (which takes part in Sacred Heart’s Study Abroad Program).
According to an email statement by President Petillo, the university asked students that studied at John Cabot to return by Saturday, Feb. 29, and to self-isolate for 14 days. The students will have the option to continue their studies with John Cabot through distance learning options either from home or at the Fairfield campus. According to the statement, Sacred Heart is also monitoring the situation for students studying abroad in other locations like Luxembourg and Dingle.
The Sacred Heart Choir was scheduled to travel and perform in Rome over spring break. The trip was seen as a major opportunity for the members of the club and although there is major disappointment that it was cancelled, the members of the choir understand that health comes first.
Adrianna Perugini, a member of the choir, believes that the decision was ultimately in the best interest of students.
“The choir put in a lot of preparation for this trip, which made the call to cancel the trip disappointing. As disappointing as it was that the trip was canceled, we all agreed that the university made the right choice. The university put the health and safety of the students before anything, which is most important,” said Perugini.
Ben Bello, also a member of the choir, expressed his disappointment in the cancellation as the trip was something that had been looking forward to for months.
“Not being able to have that experience and gain exposure to life in another country and continent, even if it’s only for a week, is kind of heartbreaking if you’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” said Bello.
However, Bello is still optimistic that there will be a future opportunity for choir.
“I hope I’m able to find more opportunities to travel abroad and hope for the best of what the overall outcome is.”
COVID-19 UPDATE: As of Wednesday, March 11
On March 9, the SHU Coronavirus Planning Team sent out an email to the entire university, stating that all in person classes will be cancelled until at least March 29. Later that day, an updated email was sent out stating that classes would be cancelled until further notice. However, they will continue to be held online only. Most labs and practicals will run as planned, and the dining halls, residence halls and athletic facilities will remain open. Additionally, athletics practices, competitions and related activities are running on regular schedule.
In the email, the SHU Coronavirus Planning Team emphasized that there are currently no cases of coronavirus on campus, and that they are only taking precautions so that the university can avoid the virus completely, if possible.
Sacred Heart has created a webpage to update the community about future news of the virus and the school’s response to it. You can find it here.