Coronavirus halts in-person classes, changes daily life in Louisiana and around the globe


Maiah Woodring/Le Souvenir

A woman wearing a mask gathers items at Walmart, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Hammond. Toilet paper has become one of the much sought after items as many prepare for an extended “quarantine” at home.

With the recent outbreak of coronavirus, the university took precautionary measures to transition face-to-face classes to online classes.

Following President John L. Crain’s mass email regarding the decision on Thursday, March 12 to move towards remote learning, there have been several operational changes in the university.

In a message sent to the university on Friday, March 13, Crain announced that campus events and activities previously scheduled through April 13 are cancelled.

Events cancelled by the Office of Student Engagement include: Lions LEAD Retreat (March 20, 2020), The Big Event (March 28, 2020), The Big Event Rain Date (April 4, 2020), Mulan Movie Bus Trip (March 31, 2020), All Greek Week Events and Activities (March 29, 2020 to April 3, 2020), Strawberry Jubilee (April 8, 2020), International Student’s Walmart Bus Trip (April 9, 2020), The MISA Banquet (April 21, 2020) and Leadership Luncheons (March 26, 2020 and April 22, 2020).

Karley Bordelon, president of Student Government Association, shared that The Big Event will be held next semester and promoted over summer.

“Our Big Event is actually going to be cancelled, so our Big Event and our Big Event rain date,” shared Bordelon. “We’re really upset about it, but we know that students are going to be ready to serve in the community next semester, over the summer, and we’re just going to encourage everyone to go volunteer and help out around the community whenever they can after this has passed.”

Bordelon shared that SGA was involved in the decision the university took.

“The administration’s been involving us in the decisions,” said Bordelon. “It’s been a little back and forth because it is so sudden and it’s so hard to predict what’s going to happen, so the decision was obviously where everyone wasn’t really completely prepared for it, but we have been involved and the administration’s been updating me on what’s going on and we’ve been discussing how we can help with future communication to make sure students are completely aware of the resources that we still have and how we’re going to function.” 

Southland Conference tournaments have also been cancelled for the spring and the Harlem Globetrotters event scheduled for March 13 was also cancelled.

Kemmler Chapple, assistant associate director of sports information, informed that the university is going to follow the decision made by Southland Conference.

“Our Southland Conference has decided to shut down all athletic non-conference and conference contests through March 30,” informed Chapple. “That is all we have to report as of now. Just using an abundance of caution because of this coronavirus, the conference has made that decision for us, and we’re going to abide by it.”

Dr. Claire Procopio, shared her thoughts regarding the cancellation of honors conference to Mississippi  that was scheduled for March 19-21.

“We received an email today from SRHC that they have made the difficult decision to cancel the conference.  Many other states and universities have issued their own travel bans in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  The Honors students and I are understandably disappointed that they will not have this opportunity to present their research, but safety comes first.  With sensible precautions in place, I am sure we will have other opportunities to travel as a group and showcase the research of these impressive young students.” 

Bordelon shared that if classes will still be held online until mid-April, SGA will have the elections as normal.

“We actually decided today that the packets are still going to be due March 27,” informed Bordelon. “You can either turn them in at OSE, or you can just submit them online, and email [email protected]. Elections will take place the same week, April 6, 7 and 8. It’ll just be completely online and campaigning will completely be social media based, and then we’ll just announce it through social media as well.” 

Eric Johnson, director of Sims Library shared events put by the library have been postponed as well.

“Following the example of many other universities as well as museums, Broadway theaters, music festivals and any places and events where sizable crowds would gather with people in close proximity, for the time being Southeastern is curtailing those events that could promulgate the spread of the Coronavirus,” said Johnson. “We’ll watch and see when it would be safer to hold our Tea or another similar event at some point in the future.”

Bordelon shared that even though the decision was tough to make, she thinks the university is moving in the right direction.

“I think there’s a lot of different opinions about it, and it’s scary, and it’s kind of hard to plan everything around it, but I think what our university is doing is good,” said Bordelon. “I think we’re taking the right action steps that are needed to make sure our students are safe first. And then obviously the community is doing different things, everyone is adapting to this to make sure everyone’s not spreading it or slowing down the rate that it could potentially affect more people.”