In the midst of spring break, students began to receive messages from the university about the coronavirus.
The virus had been spreading and spring break trips were questioned because of fear. Missouri Western had not yet made its decision but extended spring break by another week. Their final decision would be made on March 23 considering the remainder of the spring semester.
Freshman Linda Andersson visited New York over spring break with some international students by her side.
“Before we left, we asked our advisors what they thought and what would happen to us after we came back; would we be put in quarantine for 14 days or something like that? The advisors recommended to think over the trip one extra time before deciding and take the risks into consideration,” Andersson said. “We obviously went anyway but that said, we took some precautions and cleaned the airbnb an extra time, carried hand sanitizer with us. Other than that, we didn’t think about it much.”
Graduate student Lisa Laurent accompanied Andersson along with three other international students to New York.
“It was crazy. Like, everywhere. People were scared. They were wearing masks and they were buying all the hand sanitizers. We couldn't find hand sanitizers for three days,” Laurent said. “One day, I just went to a shop and I was like, Oh! You have some. So I just bought some but people were crazy scared.”
Hand sanitizer wasn’t the only thing making people nervous while Laurent was in New York.
“In the subway, every time someone coughs people would be, like, looking at them, you know, scared. It was kind of crazy,” Laurent said.
Senior Jessie Wright drove to Phoenix, Arizona, with thirteen fellow students from Christian Challenge for a mission trip.
“When we left school, everyone was kind of joking about it, like, what are they gonna do? Nothing's gonna happen. It's just a silly little virus, people overreacting but then when we were on the trip, we weren't seeing everything on the news all the time,” Wright said. “We were working and talking to people on a mission trip.”
During Wright's mission trip the magnitude of the coronavirus and the pandemic wasn’t noticeable right away.
“It really didn't even hit us until we were getting all the email notifications and everything. Like, hey, we're gonna close campus like that it was actually something serious,” Wright said. Even when we would go to the grocery store to get things that we needed. The shelves are empty and people were already stockpiling before any emergency had even been declared.”
Laurent has some wise advice when it comes to Coronavirus.
“So you can get it, the virus. Basically, young people but you don't really have the symptoms, but you can give it to older people and people that are kind of weak,” Laurent said. “ So I would say I learned that even though I don't have symptoms, it doesn't mean I don't have it.”
The pandemic caused by Coronavirus wasn’t taken seriously and some just considered it a common virus like the flu. Andersson said she was in areas of New York where there were tight spaces and she didn’t fear the virus.
“I did not feel like I was in danger of getting any virus. I’ve been joking about it and said that, 'If I didn’t get COVID-19 while in New York, no one should fear getting it,'" Andersson said.
“There is no need to hide from this virus if you know how to have proper hygiene. Washing your hands, washing your face, staying clean — that’s all.”
Others like Wright find that there is no stopping the coronavirus.
“It's still just kind of surreal. I guess the biggest thing is just like no matter what happens, life continues,” Wright said.
The coronavirus continues to spread and some spring breaks were cut short. Although the virus wasn’t taken seriously at first, many are paying close attention to the news and self-quaratining themselves after spring break.