The first week of any academic year is typically filled with anticipation, happiness, and nervousness. The change from the dog days of summer is welcome by some and a rude awakening for others. Students have to get ample sleep, find the best route to classes, find out the time and place where those are held, and allocate time towards homework. Anything that is new in life takes time to get used to, but this year got off to a rough start. Saying things would be a bit different would be an understatement.
The school community received a message two days into the 2020-2021 academic year. This was not a message that said that school was closed due to a flood, hurricane, or a blizzard. Instead, it said that the Holy Family University main campus would remain closed through the end of the week to perform “contact tracing.” During my sixteen years of schooling, I have never heard of such a thing. There are so many unanswered questions pertaining to the coronavirus.
Holy Family University attempted to reopen the campus, but unfortunately, additional people from the campus community contracted the virus. After the 3rd week of September, the school announced that classes would be taught exclusively online for the rest of the semester. This really pulled at the heart strings. Students now had confirmation that they would be limited to a one inch square on the Zoom teleconferencing platform for several more months. Instead of encouraging discussion, students have been instructed to mute their microphones at various intervals in class. The usual hellos, goodbyes and friendly smiles are few and far between. People have become isolated unlike ever before. Students who would have normally lived on campus are now working at home.
There is still hope for change. Some wonder if the university will even open for in-person instruction. The first day of class for the 2021 spring semester is scheduled to begin in-person on January 19th, and there will be no spring break. The best we can do is plan and hope for the best.
The format and content of Tri-Lite’s first issue of this school year is different as well. Prior publications included movie reviews, restaurant reviews, large campus events, homecoming, recaps of campus athletic games, and much more. This publication will focus on the coronavirus and how it made everything different. Whether or not you had the virus, it affected your life in one way or another. A good amount of the previous stories written in prior issues could not be covered in this issue. Holy Family did not host traditional fall sports or cultural events, and movie theaters are going out of business.
This semester has presented a lot of challenges, but there is hope for light at the end of the tunnel. God Bless and stay safe.
Robert F. Costello III
Robert F. Costello is the executive editor of Tri-Lite which is Holy Family University’s student run newspaper. He is in his third year at HFU and is studying Secondary Education-English. Robert loves to take trips to the beach during the summer and to watch Phillies games with friends and family. His favorite kind of writing is persuasive because it gets the reader to think about both sides of an argument. Robert has always wanted to become a writer from an early age. He aspires to become a high school teacher to pass on his love of reading and writing to others.