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All around us, state and local governments are taking measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic. Schools are shutting down, leaving millions of children in the hands of parents for whom childcare, in the age of social distancing, is no longer an option. Small businesses are shuttered, straining our national economy.
On Saturday, March 21, the University’s Dean for Research Pablo G. Debenedetti announced that all “non-essential on-campus” research activities would cease in response to Executive Order 107, which New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed on the same day.
The town of Princeton, along with the United States, is already feeling the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, nationwide applications for unemployment benefits surged by 33 percent. Governor Phil Murphy said in a CNN interview on Monday that unemployment in New Jersey is “going up dramatically.”
On March 12, Alonso Perez-Putnam ’21 woke up to learn that COVID-19 had reached Cuba.
Few things can pull a Princetonian out of bed before 9 a.m., but induction into Phi Beta Kappa is one of them. Each year, in the early hours of Class Day — 8:45 a.m., to be precise — about 140 seniors join the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society.
In a press release sent earlier today, the Municipality of Princeton announced that there have been 10 total cases of COVID-19 among Princeton residents. At least three of these individuals are over 65 years old, and one individual is a University student.
To walk through campus during the first days of spring break meant trudging through hallways cluttered with filing cabinets, with textbooks, with furniture. Garbage cans overflowed in empty rooms. Mailboxes went unemptied. Food — in boxes, in bags, in basements — piled up and began to reek. Strewn everywhere was the evidence of college students forced out in a hurry.
As coronavirus (COVID-19) ravages the globe, and thousands of human beings die from the harrowing infection, modern life has experienced an abrupt upending. Over the last several weeks, we have seen countless businesses, schools — including Princeton — and even parts of entire major cities become vacant across the globe.
The Trump administration has changed American immigration policy so rapidly that Dina Paulson-McEwen can barely keep up. As the executive director of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), an advocacy group founded in Princeton and based in Trenton, Paulson-McEwen spends much of her time informing immigrants of these changes.
A recent update to the University’s social distancing policy bans students still on campus from visiting each other’s dorm rooms. Some fear the stringent punishments described in this policy may leave students in danger of housing insecurity.
At Princeton, few honors are more highly sought-after than the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence. Endowed by president Harold Shapiro GS ’64 in 2001, the awards are presented to 3 percent of underclass students for “outstanding academic achievement” in “intellectual pursuits that constitute the core of undergraduate education.”
The University’s directive for the overwhelming majority of students to depart campus has left classrooms, libraries, and public spaces deserted — over 90 percent of the undergraduate population has packed up and returned home for the rest of the semester.
In recent weeks, the University has not hesitated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with decisive action. From calling off Reunions, granting extensions for independent work, and sending students home, Nassau Hall has adopted drastic but necessary measures.
All spring writing seminars will be pass/D/fail (PDF) only, according to an email sent by Director of the Writing Center Dr. Amanda Irwin Wilkins on Friday, March 20.
On Sunday, March 22, the University published a public health update on its COVID-19 information website, as part of “regular communications to the University community” regarding COVID-19. According to the update, University Health Services (UHS) is aware of 36 students and 17 employees who have been tested for COVID-19 as of 4 p.m. Out of the 53 tests the University is aware of, 15 have returned positive, eight have returned negative, and 30 are currently pending results.
While the University remains closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will reimburse student workers not able to work on campus. This reimbursement will apply only to student workers who receive need-based financial aid.
I’ve been debating for a while whether or not to write this. In times of such extreme polarization, it seems like those who have already agreed with me will still agree and those who have not will not see it any other way. At the end of the day, nobody has changed their mind, so what is the point? Then I think to myself — this is the kind of mindset that results in dangerous inaction. So here I go, in the hope that this is not just me shouting into the void.
New Jersey residents must “stay at home,” with some exceptions beginning at 9 p.m. tonight, according to Executive Order No. 107, which Gov. Phil Murphy signed into effect on Saturday, March 21. Violating the order could result in fines or imprisonment.
When the University announced that all undergraduates “who are able” would have to return home, thousands of Princeton seniors saw their academic careers cut short. In one day, the traditions that encapsulate a senior year at Princeton — theses, “post-thesis life,” graduation, the walk through FitzRandolph Gate — were all thrown into question.
As I returned home last week, Arkansas public schools announced they would close amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost immediately, high school classmates and community members posted on Facebook that they would be available to babysit kids whose parents couldn’t access child care. I even mentioned to my mother that I would like to do the same, because I knew the schools closing would wreak a devastating blow on parents who cannot afford to take time off from work.