Only a few weeks ago, coronavirus was just one of several news notifications filling my inbox and scrolling across my screen. Another troubling tidbit quickly to be archived and forgotten.
As February rolled around, however, the notifications piled up and the chatter about the increasingly worrisome crisis spread like wildfire. With each passing day, the news, the worry and the statistics grew exponentially. And then, on Feb. 28, Notre Dame made the decision to bring the 106 students studying abroad in Italy back to the United States.
Since that decision, in-person classes have been canceled, the remainder of study abroad programs have been suspended and students, faculty and staff have been left scrambling to adjust and define what a remote Notre Dame community looks like.
If anything, these past few weeks have definitively proven that the world can change on a dime. Life can look drastically different and become wildly more complicated on a global scale in the span of only a few days.
This virus has had an immediate and devastating impact on our community, on the nation and on the world. For those with sick family members or who may be sick themselves, health care concerns are at an all-time high. For those who have families with small businesses, who struggle to find child care, who rely on school lunches as a primary source of nutrition, who are worried about what to do for income or how to pay their bills, who have lost their jobs and/or are in the midst of other turbulent circumstances, the response to this pandemic has been nothing short of catastrophic.
Everyone is hurting, badly, and it has left so many in a precarious state of limbo. The damage that these past few weeks have caused already, even if the crisis were to stop tomorrow, will affect families and individuals for months, if not years to come. As we’ve seen, however, the end seems far from close.
The longer this lasts, the more people will hurt. It can at times be a source of relief to laugh about how much toilet paper is being hoarded or how Corona beer may never recover in sales, but I do want to reiterate that this virus as well as how the government and other institutions are responding are hurting people in real, tangible and irrevocable ways.
This is the final letter from the editor that I will write as my tenure as the Editor-in-Chief of Scholastic comes to a close. Daphne Saloomey, our supremely talented Associate Editor, will be taking on this role. I have complete faith in her capacity to continue the legacy of this magazine.
I want to thank the other Scholastic seniors who will be graduating with me: David Korzeniowski, Alison O’Neil, Mary Kate O’Leary, Nick Marcopoli and Annah Agnew. I am so thankful for this year and for your hard work. We’re leaving Scholastic in a time of crisis, but I could not be more sure that next year’s staff will exceed our expectations.
In the coming weeks, be mindful of the effect that this pandemic is having from all perspectives, choose your actions critically and voice your frustrations. We’re living through history and we need to pay attention to how this time will be remembered.