COVID-19’s impact on the St. John’s community is already impossible to ignore.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 health situation, all school-sponsored trips over spring break have been cancelled. Last Friday, Columbia University cancelled the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Convention in New York City.
“It was a bit of a shock,” said Assistant Design Editor Grace Randall, one of four editors on The Review who were planning to attend. “I didn’t really expect it because I didn’t know how bad coronavirus was.”
The annual ISAS Arts Festival was also cancelled in light of coronavirus fears. The festival, scheduled to be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, brings together over 3,500 students and faculty from 43 schools.
The worst part is, we don’t know for how long.”
— Eli Maierson
“[ISAS] is always a great time,” senior Julian Westerfield said. “Everyone’s really bummed out about it.”
Many sports teams were prepared to travel out of state for competitions during spring break—baseball and boys’ lacrosse to Florida and softball and girls’ lacrosse to California. As a result of the cancellations, players worry that team goals such as bonding and playing high-quality opponents from around the nation will not be met.
“We don’t get to go to Austin this year, and I think that state is in Houston, so there isn’t a lot of travel this year,” girls’ lacrosse captain Eliza Holt said.
Although disappointed at the trip cancellations, teams have adapted by scheduling more local matches during spring break.
“I was bummed that we’re not able to go to Florida and compete,” said Peter Sall, a sophomore starter on the baseball team. “We’re still going to be able to play [in Houston], and what matters is SPC. It doesn’t take anything away from our chances to win SPC.”
In addition to cancelled school-sponsored events and trips, many students have scrapped their spring break trips as the virus continues to spread.
Seniors McKenna Grabowski, Mia Fares and Mira Thakur had planned to spend their week of vacation in Taiwan but scratched their trip approximately a month ago, fearing infection and an inability to return to the United States.
“We just shouldn’t take the risk of not being able to come back,” Grabowski said. “It’s kind of upsetting, because we had planned a lot, and it’s just such a random circumstance.”
Greater Houston area events have also been suspended indefinitely, including the annual Houston rodeo, which authorities called off on March 11.
“I think the coronavirus has taken over spring break,” Randall said.