Spring Break 2020: A Change in Plans

Spring Break 2020: A Change in Plans

After the semester has been cut short, students share their vacation stories and hopes for the future amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: March 22, 2020
Spring Break 2020: Coronavirus Edition

Daniel Preciado, television, radio, and film senior

The end of my time in Syracuse has always had a question mark.

Being an international student, I have always known that my last semester as an undergrad – a semester that would see me applying for jobs and a U.S. Visa – would be one of uncertainties. Needless to say, the outbreak of COVID-19 has made everything a little murkier. My future in having an Optional Practical Training Visa is up in the air, as it requires me to find a job less than 5 months after graduation, a prospect that seems less possible with each day.

At the same time, the future of my own country is also one that is beyond me. As my country prepares to install a nation-wide quarantine and I remain in Syracuse, news of what is happening are scarce – delivered to me through a few media outlets or through text messages with my family. Being an international student has never been easy, but it feels even more so now as we face an already unsure future with even less certainty of how we will be able to exist in a foreign land.

Spring Break 2020: Coronavirus Edition

Ellie Legg, inclusive early childhood and special education senior

Being a senior in the School of Education, and in the middle of my student teaching, the switch to online classes has been confusing and devastating. While I am aware that this was a difficult, but right, choice made by Syracuse University and the School of Education, it left me with an open-ended and incomplete feeling.

When we received the news that we would be suspended from student teaching due to the virus, I was in my placement, trying to help my host teacher prepare for a possible school closure. I felt that I had become a burden to her because she was scrambling to make 28 homework packets to send home with her students, ensure there was a plan in place for her students to eat during a closure and teach a lesson all at the same time. It was such an awkward way to leave my placement that Friday before Spring Break. I had just gotten to know all the students, and they were just starting to warm up to me. I then had to tell them, see you in two weeks.

On Monday, when we received the notice that Syracuse would not resume residential classes, my heart broke. I would not be able to see my classroom again. There is still a sense of uneasiness among the School of Education seniors trying to earn their certification. Testing centers have closed, we’re unsure if we have enough hours and we’re trying to complete assignments that require a classroom. I do know that the administration and professors in the School of Education are working hard to answer all of our questions, but I still can’t help the feeling of incompleteness and abandonment.

Spring Break 2020: Coronavirus Edition

Sonny Cirasuolo, advertising and policy studies senior

My roommate and I spent our spring break this year on the beaches of Florida, far away from the Coronavirus crisis in New York. We left before things started to get bad, and Florida was a few days behind New York, as far as the virus goes. Because of this, we still got to visit the beach for a few days and enjoy the sun, but shortly after we got there, things started to shut down.

Restaurants became takeout only, stores were closing and curfews were put in place. The thing is, Florida’s governor decided not to take action at a state level and left it up to the localities, so rules and regulations were different from town to town. We were able to go out to eat one town over from where we were. If we were staying in a hotel or a resort, we would have had a much more disappointing time.

Yes, we were excited for the wild spring break parties in Miami and Fort Lauderdale that were canceled, but we stayed with my roommates’ best friends from high school. We had a place to stay, someone to drive us around and a local that could navigate us through this confusing time. Without them, we would have been clueless and stuck in Florida for a week.

Although it wasn’t as fun as it could have been, it was still nice to get some sun and warm weather, see some friends and relax. Considering we traveled through an airport and were at risk to contract COVID-19, I am going to quarantine myself away from my family and others for a while. With the future looking increasingly bleak or at the least uncertain, I am glad I got to enjoy one week before society shut down.

Spring Break 2020: Coronavirus Edition: Sonny Cirasuolo in South Florida

Brendan Treloar, computer science sophomore

I was disappointed that I had to stay on campus for spring break, but given the current viral apocalypse, I was quickly greeted by the acceptance stage of grief. The opportunity to catch up on my backlog of entertainment let me quickly forget the vacation plans that had been promptly cancelled at the first case of the virus in Atlanta.

And what better place to take a staycation than the eerily empty hills of Syracuse’s South Campus? I could use some quality me-time to see the latest season of just about every current HBO show and kill the list of movies that had been recommended to me over the past six months.

The first three days of my ‘Cuarantine went relatively smoothly as I discovered just how many meals I could substitute with Lucky Charms.

However, at approximately six in the morning on the first Monday of my quarantine, I was awoken by distinctly human screaming coming from outside my apartment. I rushed off my couch – on which I had fallen asleep the night before fully clothed – expecting to witness whatever tragedy merited the distressed screeching.

I slammed open my door to find something notably less Psycho and more The Birds. I found what I assumed to be the northeast regional conference of displaced seabirds. They had decided to circle over the FarmAcre lot with no goal in mind other than waking up every single student that had the misfortune of remaining a South Campus resident this week. Much to my dismay, this has happened in some form or another every day since then.

Spring Break 2020: Coronavirus Edition

Cameron Tirado, broadcast and digital journalism major senior

Through the Newhouse NYC program, I intern during the day at MSNBC, up to 24 hours a week, and take courses at night. I was looking forward to working full time over spring break which isn’t most senior’s dream, but, for me, this seemed like a good way to get my feet wet before working fulltime post-May. It would give me the chance to continue seeing new and exciting things behind-the-scenes of a newsroom. I also had a few networking opportunities lined up, and I wanted to shadow different members of my team.

News media is considered one of the essential jobs allowed to continue operating under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order, so I was still under the impression that I would be needed to help make things run smoothly.

On Friday, March 3, NBC sent out an email to all interns saying we were to work-from-home effective immediately. I was one of the last students in my program to get this authorization. Things had started getting a bit strange in the city. Earlier that morning, New York transit was so empty that I could sit on the Metro during rush-hour, which is almost unheard of when every other day people are packed in like sardines.

While I was disappointed about work, I still had every intention to stay in the city. I went to Washington Square Park on Saturday, and people were all gathered around listening to musicians and watching street artists. It felt normal.

The next day, multiple family members called me telling me they were concerned there would be a statewide shutdown and that I would be locked out of my home state of Pennsylvania. They also worried I would have little to no access to food, and violence would increase as people started to panic.

I left immediately. This felt like a rushed decision given that I was going about my day, as usual, less than 24 hours before, but I could hear the fear in my family members’ voices. All of my belongings are still in New York.

I spent my spring break at home, surrounded by family and with my dog, while I continued to do research-work remotely for MSNBC. We played some family board games and watched some television. It was less than ideal, but the most important thing is that I’m healthy, and so are they. I think it’s important that we all play our part to decrease the spread.

cameron tirado

Kavita Sarathy, biotechnology sophomore

I was supposed to spend spring break staying with a friend in Skaneateles until the university gave official notice that we would be moving fully online.

The Friday before break, I was packed for two weeks in Syracuse weather, with two suitcases packed and ready in case of the official notice. But right before I was supposed to be picked up, my dad called, telling me that with all the airlines cancelling masses of flights, I should come home immediately so I don’t get stuck.

So, I booked a flight back to Los Angeles and left for the airport 30 minutes later, without a chance to repack my suitcase for California weather or say goodbye to any of my friends.

Fast forward to SU’s announcement, and I am at home with a small suitcase full of the wrong clothing for the climate and no idea how I would get all of my belongings home to me. Thankfully, I have great family friends who packed up the rest of my room in Syracuse and are storing it for now, and I used a moving company to get the 2 suitcases I had pre-packed from Syracuse to Los Angeles.

A lot is still up in the air, such my plans to go abroad next semester. Since that is now unlikely, I frantically found a new lease to sign for the full year, instead of my planned one semester sublease, two days before spring break.

At the end of the day, my family and I have been able to manage what this situation has thrown at us, but it has cost us a lot of stress and money, and I am now in a city full of fear and a lot of suitcases.