chapel bell

Evening sun shines on the chapel bell in North Campus on an unusually warm day in Athens, Georgia on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. (Photo/Caroline Barnes,

The COVID-19 disease has changed the lives of people in Athens and around the world. Because of the disease's rapid spread, the University System of Georgia notified the presidents of all USG institutions on March 12 that it was suspending classes for a two week period beginning on March 16. After the suspension is over, the University of Georgia will move to online classes.

The Red & Black asked UGA students how the changes brought about by the novel coronavirus have affected them and if they are taking any precautions to protect themselves from the virus. The interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.

Andrew Tran is a freshman astrophysics major.

“The online classes thing, it is kind of stressful. ... I feel like it may have an impact on my learning. Many of my classes are really heavy technical and STEM classes. … I was planning on participating in the CURO Symposium in April, but I guess that’s probably out the window at this point.”

Joshua White is a freshman intended management major.

“I’ve been keeping constant track before UGA announced their plans about suspending class since I live six hours away from campus, and so I was going to make travel plans. I was going to take a flight on March 15 to get back to campus originally. … I have a bit of a weaker immune system, so already I was going to keep track of the virus and see what the university was going to do about this. … I’m really happy [USG suspended class for two weeks].”

Charles Burney is a freshman journalism major.

“For me, I know that I’m at a lower risk because of my age group, but I’m still actually taking daily Vitamin C vitamins. But I’m not panicking. There’s resources out there from government officials. … It’s very important to follow the provisions and tips and listen to the government officials. More than ever, know what the news is saying.”

Natalia Blooming is a freshman genetics major.

“The first time I realized that this novel coronavirus is going to be an impact, it was actually the day [I spent with] my sister over at [Georgia] Tech. And it was crazy there because, when I was there, Tech straight up announced, ‘Yeah, we’re going online. We’re booting you out for the rest of the semester.’ And the mood there was awful. People were crying. People realized this was the last time in a while we could potentially not be coming back here, and it was terrifying. … My family is preparing for the coronavirus. We have a lot of food in the fridge. We don’t know how long this is going to last.”

Xinyi Meng is a graduate student earning a master’s degree in the TESOL and World Language Education program at the UGA College of Education.

“It is a change for me. I have two classes this semester that are face-to-face and one that’s online. So the online one doesn’t really have any big changes, but one of the courses is very interactive, and we actually planned to go to a local school and play some theater-based language games with the students there. But it’s been canceled because of the suspension.”

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