Coronavirus-Caused Closure Postpones Graduation

Students Feeling “Robbed” Yet “Thankful”

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  • Junior Caroline Antonio outside of the Kline Campus Center on Tuesday, March 10, which was not only her 21st birthday but the day before the campus announced distance learning would be implemented. “I didn’t get to say goodbye to my BC family,” she said.

    Photo by Courtesy of Caroline Antonio

  • (Left to right) Sophomore Heather Donnelly with seniors Holden Andrews, Sarah Riley and Jason Moughon. Riley said, “it’s hard to imagine my senior year at Bridgewater is ending without much notice.”

    Photo by Courtesy of Sarah Riley

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Danielle Brooks, BCVoice Executive Director

Bridgewater, Va.- With the news that face-to-face classes will not resume for the rest of the semester, and the cancellation of graduation, students responded with disappointment, particularly seniors.

Though grateful the college is prioritizing students’ health, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to say goodbye,” senior Donté Henderson said.

Henderson stated he felt “robbed…not by the school because I know that all this is not under their control, but just robbed of the full college experience.” Henderson said he felt each day of the last four years was “leading up to the climax of this grand story that will never have a proper ending.”

Not only are students struggling with missing their friends, faculty, staff and other members of the BC community, but they are up against practical issues too.

For students like junior Caroline Antonio, campus is where jobs are located.

“I have to actually cook my own meals which takes time and spend my own money…I can’t work since my jobs were at school,” Antonio said. “There was so much I was looking forward to.”

Every student is adjusting to distance learning, as are the faculty.

Distance learning has caused some students to “learn [material] on your own,” said Antonio, explaining, “I feel like I honestly won’t learn anything.”

“I was glad to go home…now since I’m home I want to go back to BC,” Antonio said.

“I’ve worked for almost four years to graduate with the people that have become like family…only for our time to be cut short and our celebration to be taken from us,” said senior Christa McDaniel.

Senior Sarah Riley said the closure “feels like really short notice…it’s disappointing we won’t even have a commencement; I wish the school had waited until later to make their final decision until more information came out.”

However, in a story for NPR, Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, pointed out that “an individual who doesn’t get very sick might still pass the infection along to others, including parents, neighbors …This is a condition that may not pose a threat to the individual but a threat to the community.” 

Senior Lauren Buckout said, “I think we’re all disappointed,” but she is “thankful to be part of a community that prioritizes our safety and health.” Buckout hopes “BC will allow us to reconnect on campus once the situation is under control and we can have the commencement we were looking forward to.”

Bushman stated in the email Monday afternoon, “commencement could be held remotely or later in the summer…we will provide updates as appropriate.”