Loyola Moves to Online Classes, Students Have 1 Week to Leave Residence Halls as COVID-19 Fear Grows
March 12, 2020
For many students, the threat of COVID-19 became real March 12, 2020. That’s when the university sent out an email to the Loyola community announcing students had one week, until March 19, to pack up and move out of their residence halls.
When the announcement was made, the state had 25 reported cases of COVID-19. About a year later, more than 1.2 million Illinoisans have reportedly been infected with the virus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
The email also announced the move to entirely online classes and that Loyola students abroad were headed back to the U.S.
Hannah Loeschorn, a current Loyola senior, was a junior at the time and she was sent home from her abroad program at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center.
“I remember when I first saw the email, I was in total disbelief,” Loeschorn, 22, told The Phoenix in March 2021. “I was in shock, because, the whole COVID-19 pandemic, no one foresaw it turning into what it is today.”
Loeschorn said she watched as the weeks turned into months, and now, more than a year of the pandemic. Now, she's just hoping she will be able to make up for some of the missed travel after she graduates in May.
Last year, The Phoenix spoke to David Binkley, a current Loyola sophomore, as he prepared to leave his first-year dorm in Mertz Hall behind and head home to Dixon, Illinois.
“It’s very sad because you have to say bye to everyone so suddenly,” Binkley told The Phoenix in March 2020. “I’ve cried like 10 times. It’s hard to watch everyone go one by one.”
Loyola Students Stock Up Before Moving Out
March 16, 2020
Shortly after Loyola announced campus closures, students rushed to on-campus convenience stores to buy snacks and supplies. At the time, students weren’t sure if they’d be able to keep their dining dollars — the on-campus spending money included in meal plans — for future semesters.
Adam Banlasan, a junior at the time, was interviewed by The Phoenix during his first of several trips to Damen Food Court where he spent his remaining dining dollars on an entire moving cart of snacks and candy.
“It was quite an adventure getting all that home,” Banlasan told The Phoenix a year later. “I’m willing to admit it does seem a little silly in retrospect, but at the same time having all those goodies made it easier to get through the first few months of quarantine.”
When Loyola’s campuses closed, Banlasan — who’s now a senior and still majoring in neuroscience — moved back in with his parents near the Illinois-Wisconsin border where he’s been taking online classes since. He said it’s difficult to reflect on all that’s happened since last year.
“I lost access to all the on-campus resources I used to have in person,” Banlasan said. “I’ve had to improvise a lot to make up for that and make do with the amount of time I have to talk to professors. The lack of face-to-face conversation has been an obstacle because things just aren’t the same over video calls.”
Loyola Student Tests Positive for COVID-19, Officials Confirm
March 21, 2020
Loyola students received news March 21 that one of their own had tested positive for COVID-19. This was the first reported case of the virus in the Loyola community. The student had not been on campus in the 14 days prior to the announcement, and was recuperating in isolation at home, officials said.
“I’m glad that our students were forced to adapt at the same pace as working professionals,” she said.
Reflecting on the past year, Lamberti praised students’ ability to adapt.
“I think anyone who went to college during ‘year Covid’… is going to be able to say to potential employers, ‘I adapted really quick, really fast to a brave new world, and that’s not something you can list definitely under your skills maybe on your resume but it’s so true — how quickly you learned and how quickly you survived it.”