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Campbellsville University students staying on campus during COVID-19 pandemic

Campbellsville University medical billing and coding class offered beginning May 4
Scarlett Birge, a sophomore of Park City, Ky., walks from Winters Dining Hall to her dorm after getting lunch from their new take-out services. (Campbellsville University Photo by Alexandria Swanger)

By Scarlett Birge, student news writer, Office of University Communications, and Ruiwen Yao, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “I don’t have the resources at home to finish my semester,” freshman Fabiola Gonzalez Luna, of Glasgow, Ky., said.

Gonzalez Luna is among the 21 female students, 14 male students and 5 students in over flow housing left on Campbellsville University’s main campus, and she is staying to ensure her course work is accomplished.

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many universities have completely shut down their residential halls and sent home the students who were living on campus.

However, this may not be a viable option for all. For many reasons, some students have been forced to stay on campus because there are no other choices.

“All students on campus are either internationals whose countries are shut down and are unable to go home, or are those who didn’t have anywhere else to go,” Rusty Watkins, dean of student services, said.

Since most international travel has been suspended to help prevent further spread of COVID-19, many international students are unable to return home. In addition, the ban on international travel to go back home, as well as safety of being able to do so are just a few instances of why a student may stay on campus.

“I don’t have the money to live elsewhere,” Campbellsville University sophomore Siu Ching “Esa” Tsoi of Hong Kong said.

Having access to the tools needed in order to complete coursework and continue to earn a successful education is a concern shared by students choosing to remain on campus.

Concerned that going home would interfere with his income and ability to do school work, freshman Elvis Niyokwizara, of Atlanta, Ga., has had to remain on campus.

With many services closing down, including all classrooms, sports and the Betty Dobbins Heilman Student Wellness Center, Tsoi said the adjustment has been difficult.

“My teammate and I are trying to work out at the soccer field and in our living room to try and keep ourselves in shape,” he said.

Yiheng Wu, a junior from Beijing, said after talking with his parents he decided to remain on campus.

“I would have spent hours in an airtight space on the airplane. Nowadays, the coronavirus is so serious that it takes at least 30 hours for a trip back to my country. In order to reduce the risk of infection, I must not eat or drink on the plane, which is a test for everyone.”

Wu said the advantage of having classes while remaining on campus is that students can make full use of their time, as long as they submit their homework when it is due.

“Of course,” Wu said, “the benefits of going home are also great. Compared with the severity of the disease in the United States, China’s disease has lessened, and people have gradually recovered to their normal work and life.

“Learning at home may encounter some problems, such as unable to communicate with the teacher in a timely manner and the problems may not be solved,” Wu said.

In Wu’s view, this period will be the most difficult time for all mankind. Staying at home, wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing are the best measures.

Campbellsville University medical billing and coding class offered beginning May 4 1
Khalil Baker, resident director for North Hall, sits outside Winters Dining Hall enjoying a take-out lunch. (Campbellsville University Photo by Alexandria D. Swanger)

Recently, Campbellsville University implemented a new housing and dining protocol, offering take-out food services only and requiring students to remain at least six feet apart, as well as ensuring each student has his or her own separate room.

“Everyone having their own dorm rooms and staying six feet away from each other is very helpful,” Niyokwizara said.

“I think moving us into separate rooms and having a bathroom to ourselves, the staff serving us at the cafeteria and closures of the public facilities are good because this is how we break the transmission chain of the virus,” Tsoi said.

With health and safety being a top priority at this time, the students expressed their opinions on what actions are being taken and how it is affecting them.

“To be honest, I feel safer here than other places, but still not 100% safe from the virus,” Tsoi said.

“Coronavirus has been messing with Hong Kong since January so I’m not at the state that I feel scared with the virus, I’m just tired of the virus,” Tsoi said.

“I feel safe from the sickness at school because I don’t go to many places and I hang around the same people every day. I am not worried about it at all,” Niyokwizara said.

“I’m concerned for everyone at this point, more and more people are getting it,” Gonzalez Luna said.

Students remaining on campus are taking many different approaches to handling new precautions being set in place. “I hope everything can be fixed in August, but Hong Kong had the virus before the U.S. and went to online school for the whole year. I’m still deciding what to do for the next academic year,” said Tsoi.

“I just want to do what is right and keep everyone safe by doing what the government officials say,” said Niyokwizara.

Aside from the adjustments to the new way of living during this time of self-quarantine and social distancing, the human need to relax and stay sane is still very prominent.

From making short entertainment videos on the viral app TikTok, to binge watching shows and movies on streaming sites like Netflix, to getting some exercise out in the sun, leisure activities can be seen to be especially vital during these times.

“I watch movies and talk to my friends,” said Niyokwizara.

“I feel like we are looking at screens too much, that’s why I’m trying to do some physical activities,” said Tsoi.

For many, part of coping includes engaging in social interaction. In our highly technological age, it is now easier than ever to stay in touch with people and access various channels of interaction all while remaining safely distanced or quarantined.

Scarlett Birge, a sophomore from Park City, Ky., stayed on campus, to ensure her ability to keep good grades and writing. As an introvert, COVID-19 has not really affected her personal socialization methods.

In all honesty, Birge thinks she has started socializing with people more now that these restrictions are in place.

Using things such as FaceTime and Discord, she has been able to still talk and play games with her close friends even though they are all miles apart.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 11,900 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has Kentucky based off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. Out-of-state centers include two in California at Los Angeles and Lathrop, located in the San Francisco Bay region. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Campbellsville University.