Students Still on Campus During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Staying Connected Over FaceTime and Zoom

Alexander Naupari, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va – Even though classes moved online, buildings are locked, and a majority of employees are working off-site, there are still a handful of students who remain living on campus.

These Bridgewater students are from out of the country, come from a state hundreds of miles away or intend to stay on campus because of other circumstances that cause them to be unable to leave.

While the majority of students were hurriedly packing for what they thought was an initial three-week exodus, this group of students began coordinating last-minute housing arrangements working with the administration and determining what was best with their families.

Takumi Sampei, an exchange student from Soka University in Tokyo, Japan, could not immediately leave due to problems with the airline carrier.

The news of campus shutting down was upsetting to Sampei since it “cut his time at Bridgewater short.” He said that saying early goodbyes to the friends and experiences he encountered during his stay was a disappointing reality he had to live through.

With most services on campus closed, there was not much that Sampei and the other students could do.

Their meals were distributed next to the Micro Market in the Link.

Sampei described the state of the campus as “very quiet and sad.”

Sampei returned to Japan last week, where he began a 14-day isolation in a hotel near the airport.

Senior Anh Nguyen, another student from outside the U.S., chose to live the rest of the semester on campus instead of returning to Vietnam, which, she said, would be a major inconvenience for herself and her family.

She said her fears subsided as Residence Life helped to arrange her temporary stay on campus. With news of graduation being cancelled, she said that she did not care as much about commencement as she did about not “saying proper goodbyes and send-offs to the people I know.”

Regular Zoom and FaceTime interactions are keeping the students connected with loved ones and friends as well as with their classes. Still day-to-day human interactions are very limited.

Student Life staff has been accommodating and helpful to those who remain on campus addressing students’ problems as they arise.

Anh described the administration as “really passionate about trying to help everyone out during this time.”