By Kallin Baarstad
A new decade always brings some sort of excitement for everyone. With 2020 being the start and an election year, many people have fear installed as well. One fear that many could not have predicted is one that many consider “apocalyptic:” a new strain of the coronavirus.
According to Mayo Clinic, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is a part of a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The three most common symptoms of coronavirus are Because this strain is so new, there is not a lot of information out about it yet. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center of Disease Control (CDC) have been continuously updating their websites with all the latest information they have on the current situation.
Closer to home, talk about the coronavirus started at the beginning of March. At first, humor was the primary factor of many conversations on the topic. Now, half way through the month, emergency actions have been taken, including the cancelling of sports seasons, schools and multiple on campus events.
After spring break, there are many large events that take place on campus, including Celebration of Student Scholarship (COSS), Golden Cobbs, Cornstock and graduation commencement. As of now, all four events have not been officially cancelled, but by the looks of our national situation, there is a good chance most, if not all, will be.
Because of MN Governor Tim Walz’s decision to close all public schools in the state for the time being, Concordia took action and cancelled as well. As of an email sent out just before 10:00 PM on Sunday, March 15, all classes were to be cancelled the week of March 16-20.
Sophie Newcomb, a junior from Moorhead, Minnesota, is very saddened by the current situation not only for herself, but for her peers as well.
“I think it’s incredibly unfortunate how this will impact our student body as a whole, especially our seniors. Although it is nothing short of devastating to think of not having a graduation ceremony, Cornstock, and other various Concordia traditions that will be cancelled, I feel it matters most for our student’s safety to be heavily prioritized,” she said.
Newcomb understands the safety precautions that need to be taken, and she is glad that the Concordia community is strong and willing to do what it takes for their students’ safety and education.
COSS, Golden Cobbs, Cornstock and graduation commencement all take place within a month’s time of each other. As of now, the suggested cap for group events ranges from 50 to 150 people, and all four of these events host more attendees than that. COSS, Cornstock and graduation commencement are campus-wide, and all students, faculty and staff can attend. Golden Cobbs, an awards show put on and attended by Concordia student athletes and coaches, is specific to the athletic department and has less attendees than the other three, but it still easily surpasses the 150-person mark.
Around one fourth of the undergraduate population on campus consists of the senior class, and many have been looking forward to the last few weeks of school. Karsen Granning, a senior from Alexandria, sees both sides to the situation at hand.
“At first, I was a little bit excited, my first thought being I wouldn’t have to do homework for a little while, but then my second thought was whoa, this is my senior year, and I was basically in tears thinking about it. As sad as it all is, people do need to realize this is bigger than ourselves and comes down to people’s lives and well-beings.”
As of Wednesday, March 25, all in-person classes have been suspended for the remainder of the semester and will be held online. COSS has adjusted to an asynchronous, online event, while graduation commencement has been postponed, following the footsteps of many other colleges across the nation.
Right now, the best way to go about the situation at hand is to play things by ear and live in the moment. At the end of the day, Concordia is doing this all for the safety of its students, faculty and staff. If cancelling big events is what’s needed to be done in order for this 2020 apocalypse to end, so be it.