Catholic Universities and Colleges Close, Hold Class Online Amid Coronavirus Concerns

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By Tim Harfmann

Students at Saint John’s University are packing up and heading home as the university has canceled classes on all of its campuses as a precaution over the coronavirus. 

“It’s been really hectic Everybody’s on the phone with their mom saying coronavirus is canceling school. It’s been crazy,” explained Kaitlynn Gatto, a student at the school.

Lessons will be learned online beginning March 12, until at least March 27.

“It’s like a ghost town, like no one’s here,” said another student. 

“I didn’t even know the classes were canceled today, actually.” said freshman Javeigh Young-White. “So I was just going to my acting class. I went in the theater, and the entire theater was dark. I was like, ‘Hold up. Something ain’t right.”

While Javeigh is lucky he travels to Queens from Brooklyn, other students like Esmeralda Nieves have a much longer commute.

She’s leaving the Queens campus and driving back to Richmond, Virginia.

“I just wish they did it sooner, because I was here for one day.”” she explained.

Classes just resumed March 9 following spring break.

“It’s pretty frustrating,” said Esmerelda. “I feel like it was foreseen, and it could’ve been announced earlier.”

Saint John’s is one of several Catholic universities and colleges in the New York area putting plans in place.

Fordham University, Mount Saint Vincent and Manhattan College have canceled classes, too.

Students understand the precaution. 

“Just because it’s New York City, there’s so many people that they have to be safe,” one student said.

“You can’t ever be too safe, but there is a lot of overreacting,” added Esmerelda.