Due to the continued spike in cases on campus, Sacred Heart has moved its alert status to red, resulting in online classes for the rest of the semester.
“This decision was made after careful deliberations and discussion with state and local health officials about how best to contain the virus,” said the Coronavirus Planning Team.
Immediately after this decision was made, Sacred Heart began exit testing for students who wished to depart for home for the remainder of the semester. Results are sent via email within 30-60 minutes after the testing sight closes for the day.
“As soon as I saw the email update from the Coronavirus Planning Team that all classes were switching to all online, I quickly went and got a rapid test from the South Garage and started packing my bags to go home the following day,” said freshman Savannah Belcuore.
With only three weeks left in the semester, the switch to online learning creates many challenges for professors and students.
“Some adjustments that are going to have to be made, especially in communication classes regarding projects, will be finding innovative ways for students to still be able to complete these projects in an online setting. Keeping projects engaging and allowing students to still be creative while being online at home is very important,” said Peter Ciocca, a professor in the Communication and Media Studies Department.
Ciocca also shared his opinion on the online learning platforms.
“I would say it is a bit of a downside to class, especially communications and production classes, in the sense that these classes revolve around being more hands-on,” said Ciocca. “Not being able to be in-person takes away from some of the experience students would be getting while actually being present in the class; not having that face-to-face interaction is a challenge in and of itself in providing the necessary help to students.”
Many students agreed with Ciocca that the switch to online learning would involve some adjustments.
“I have a lot of struggles with online learning,” said sophomore Francesca Compagno. “One is just looking at my professor and classmates through a computer screen. I like hands-on-learning where everyone in the class has such a great connection with each other and is able to interact with one another while the content is being taught.”
The switch to virtual learning affects students of all majors and can prove a challenge to many.
“Since I am a nursing major, my classes became significantly more difficult being online. Studying nursing is very crucial to learn in-person because one day I will have someone’s life in my hands. I am afraid virtual learning will just hold me back,” said sophomore Alexis Tropia.
Although the switch to online learning can prove difficult, many staff and families are pleased with how Sacred Heart has handled COVID-19 throughout the semester.
“I thought that the frequent weekly updates, and sometimes daily, kept us well informed as parents as to what was going on regarding the COVID-19 situation. Overall, it gave us a true sense of security that the university had this situation under control,” said Jean Hallowell, mother of a Sacred Heart student.
The weekly updates from the Coronavirus Planning Team aided in providing safety information to the Sacred Heart community.
“The emails were really constructive and informative when it came to seeing how the campus was doing. Also, I think the Coronavirus Planning Team was trying to be positive about it too,” said Compagno. “In some emails, they would include some fun quotes or sentences to try to brighten up people’s day. I thought that was really nice of them to do especially during these crazy times.”
As of Friday, Nov. 13, there are 220 active cases on campus.
“I am not really that surprised Sacred Heart made it this long because I believe the university did a great job in communicating with the community and taking the necessary precautions to make sure their students were staying safe during these unprecedented times,” said Ciocca.