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Class of 2020 responds to online transition

The Brandeis Hoot asked the Class of 2020 to give their thoughts surrounding the latest developments of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and how it is affecting Brandeis. The questionnaire we distributed focused on students in the Class of 2020 specifically, as this group of students has faced many different epidemics throughout their lifetimes and face uncertainties surrounding graduation and other end of the year events as of print time.

“It should be clear to everyone that this type of language is not okay: ‘There is no need for concern, as this virus is only dangerous to the immunocompromised/elderly.’ This type of language devalues the lives of the immunocompromised/elderly, and also overlooks the responsibility we have as a community to halt the spread of the virus in order to protect our immunocompromised/elderly members of the community. Additionally, we should not be comparing this to the flu. While most of the population would have an experience very similar to getting the seasonal flu, this overlooks the fact that COVID is many times more deadly than the flu, and there isn’t a vaccine.”

“I think Brandeis is responding well, however it is a really scary time and while the emails are helpful, it is definitely inducing fear in many students.”

“It is unfortunate that the coronavirus is aligning with our last semester in college and it is really saddening to me. Humans think we have mother nature mastered, yet these epidemics prove to us that we are not above nature.”

“I want a petition to start about Springfest, Senior Week and Graduation.”

“Don’t cancel graduation. Don’t cancel senior week. Don’t cancel Springfest. Or, refund me half my tuition.”

“More straightforward answers and better ways to make sure students can be tested. Fix the infrastructure of the health center and make it something that students will go to. Most people I talk to forgo the health center and go straight to the ER or urgent care because the health center’s structure and quality of care is that bad.”

“I wish this didn’t have to impact my senior spring :/”

“Mass hysteria does not help. Sicknesses spread, but at the end of the day, we cannot stop our lives and our education because of it. Seniors deserve to finish their college careers by taking classes in person, having a final Springfest, arts showcases, senior week, and graduation (commencement) all in person, for which they have worked so hard for the past four years.”

“It just makes me question our entire health system. I don’t know enough to truly make a statement, but I do know that I’m grateful none of these epidemics lined up and affected my family while my mom was in between jobs and we didn’t have insurance.”

“The administration should talk to their autoimmune compromised students and see whether or not their actions are actually supporting them.”

“I would like some tuition back or funding for my work, because online classes mean I physically will be unable to continue my studies (my painting thesis—as I will lose studio access and resources).”

“All I would say to this is that it is showing me how hopeless[ly] unprepared governments are to contain and prevent things like this from spreading once they take hold, and how there doesn’t seem to be any coherent coordination between the government and other major organizations (such as schools, municipal governments, global health organizations, etc).”

“I think that seniors deserve to have commencement, even if it is postponed. Many are the first to go to college in their family, many have left their families and homelands behind to come here and get an education. To not have a graduation ceremony would be heartbreaking and unfair to all of us that have worked so hard. Even if a compromise could be worked out, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that we would want some kind of commencement or celebration even if adjustments have to be made. This epidemic is for sure dangerous but people need to educate themselves and understand that life cannot come to a complete stop—why doesn’t anyone react like this during flu season? Coronavirus is new so it is scary, but people at risk should stay home without it sacrificing the freedom of other healthy people. Us younger healthier people have been shown to not have ANY symptoms while having the virus—so we should implement strict and thorough policies of cleanliness and sanitation. But cancelling everything including commencement detracts from any type of hope, joy or celebration. I’m sure there is a way to compromise so that students that worked so hard for four years can get a graduation like anyone else. I’m sure parents who cannot leave their countries to see their child due to travel restrictions would still rather their child get their diploma on video, than not at all. This would be taking away a once in a lifetime achievement.”


“Clarity. Resources for students who are panicking. Reasoning behind their decisions, or at least links to resources to learn about what’s going on for community members who aren’t scientifically literate.”

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