By Amy Petrovich
On March 17, Sacred Heart University officially closed its doors and transferred all classes online for the rest of the semester. The university even urged those living off-campus to move out due to COVID-19’s spreading throughout the U.S.
President Petillo and members of the faculty made the difficult decision to cancel all in-class meetings beginning March 10, as well as cancelling all group gatherings on campus.
As a result, many students have gone home to prevent the further spread of the virus.
“Very early on, the university convened a team to review plans and prepare should we be impacted. As this situation has evolved, our approach has also evolved. While some decisions were extremely difficult to make, the fact that this has been identified as a pandemic makes us realize while difficult, these decisions were appropriate,” Gary MacNamara, Public Safety and Government Affairs Executive Director.
“In addition to getting the students safely home, staff who have the ability to work from home are now doing so. The university has closed all entrances except for the main gate on Park Avenue, so that we know exactly who is on campus. We have shut down all our recreation areas and gyms per the governor’s decree, and we are taking the opportunity to once again thoroughly disinfect those areas.”
Students who were studying abroad have been greatly affected by the university’s decision to close. All those abroad in Europe were required to return to the U.S. and are now completing all of their courses online, similar to all other students.
Student athletes were also affected by decisions made by Sacred Heart and the NCAA in response to the coronavirus. All athletes of every season had their practices and competitions cancelled for the remainder of the year.
“The season being cut short was something none of us expected. It still doesn’t feel real and it hurts to know we won’t ever step on the same field as our seniors again. We’ve leaned on each other and our coaching staff for support and know we will get through this together,” said junior, softball player Colleen Walsh.
Since the cancellation, the NCAA has granted all spring sport athletes affected by the cancellation an additional year of eligibility, in the hopes that the athletes can gain back some of what they have lost.
“Just like everyone else, we don’t know what the future holds regarding this pandemic. Our hope, of course, is that we will be able to resume normal operations for the fall semester and continue to prepare for that. We will continue to keep everyone updated as this situation develops,” said MacNamara.