East Carolina University Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson announced on Wednesday, March 11 the extension of the university’s spring break. The decision aligns with UNC System guidance to ensure the safety of students and staff amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
Spring break was extended through last Friday with the university transitioning to alternative course deliveries effective yesterday. The transition continues until further notice but students continue to enjoy their break while being cautious.
Senior construction management major Matthew Mozitis spent his original week of spring break in Madrid, Spain with friends.
“We went clubbing and to a bunch of nice restaurants. We went sightseeing and to the Madrid (Santiago Bernabéu) stadium. We were going to take a train to Barcelona but that never happened because of the virus,” Mozitis said.
The COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has spread across the globe, leaving those on spring break abroad concerned. President Donald Trump announced a US Travel ban effective Friday, March 13 on 26 European countries, including Spain.
“It was around 3 a.m. and I got a call from my mom telling me Trump shut down travel and there is a ban and it goes into effect at 12 o’clock tomorrow. They switched my flight the next morning. We were going to leave Sunday night,” Mozitis said. “I’m stuck in New Jersey. I’m staying in my room for 14 days and doing my classes online then I’ll come back to ECU.”
For other students who did not travel over spring break, they are enjoying an extra week of relaxation.
Senior applied economics major, Tyrell Killingsworth, spent his extended break in Greenville catching up on sleep instead of taking the risk to travel outside the country.
“My friends went to the Bahamas and some to Fort Lauderdale. I’m too worried because of the Coronavirus. I wanted to go out of the country, but I didn’t commit,” Killingsworth said. “My dad wanted me to stay here or go see him. I’ve bought $120 of groceries so I’m set.”
The uncertainty of graduation and transition to online classes has Killingsworth on edge.
“I’m kind of stressed out about it because I don’t know what to do. But at the same time, it’s nice. No graduation is scary. It’s going to have people confused,” Killingsworth said. “I don’t know if the rec center is closed, but they postponed Doggie Jams.”
Junior psychology major, Jhovani Tellez, used the extended spring break as his time for fun.
“I’m getting a real spring break since I worked all week,” Tellez said.
Senior elementary education major, Jade Mason, spent her spring break working her internship through her college.
“I’m in my internship now and am required to continue to attend school while everyone else galivants in all the tropical places,” Mason said. “I don’t have a choice.”
Mason is one of many students with mandated internship hours that are currently up in the air due to COVID-19.
“I have tons of requirements, observations and hours to complete my student teaching, but I can’t actually do them if I’m not there. I’m also really worried about my students. For some of them, school is the most stable environment they have and for them to not have that right now eats at me all the time,” Mason said. “My college has said that they’re looking into waivers of forgiveness for us to still receive our degrees and licenses but we’re just sitting ducks right now.”
ECU students have returned to their courses yesterday via online and alternative methods. There is no definite date when students will be allowed to return to campus, but the university is working to continue to provide resources for students and staff during this time.