While our campus is set on Hawk Hill, the pandemic is changing everything in our lives. Suddenly, our campus of 125 acres has transformed into a wide variety of towns, states and even countries as we continue this semester in a virtual format from our own homes. Our homes are no longer just for home cooked meals, movies, and sleep but instead, are now our new Campion, residence halls, the library, and every classroom building in between. Not only have our lives been affected by this change but also those around us. According to our Instagram poll, 64% of students say their parents are working entirely from home. Parents and guardians from all different SJU households are now expecting their students back home. This has added an interesting twist to an already complicated school year. 

Bill McGuinness, father of Mary McGuinness ‘21 said, “It has been an adjustment finding space for everyone to work and be on the phone and zoom without disrupting one another.” Parents and students have struggled to do their work from home all at the same time without inconveniencing another person in the family. 

Parents and student prepare for a day of working from home together
Source: Mary McGuinness

Not only has there been adjusting but extra preparation as well. Many universities tested students before returning home however, Saint Joseph’s University only recommended it. Students everywhere were scrambling to get last minute Covid-19 tests before returning home as college students who are not high risk or even asymptomatic could be giving the illness to other family members who are at a higher risk. 

When talking about her daughter Madison Fife ‘23, Chris Fife expressed that Covid-19 rules do not change now that she is home. “We also expect her to be careful with where she goes and what she did the few days before coming home because we do not want to risk having Coronavirus in the household.” 

Desk of a virtual SJU student
Source: Mary McGuinness

While the pandemic as a student can be challenging, it has grown into something more than that. Students have been taken out of the classrooms and placed into their homes and now, parents and guardians will feel like active members of the Saint Joseph’s community as well. On top of their own busy lives they now will have to hold the responsibility of a college administrator per say. College campuses have practically flooded into houses all across the globe and Saint Joseph’s families see this first hand. These times are stressful and while everyone is worn thin and tired, there is no telling when this will come to an end and just how long college students will be home for.

Bill Smith, father of Jessica Smith ‘23, said, “I do not know what to expect but I do not think she and other students will be returning by mid January. With cases rising and the new restrictions that have already been implemented in Philadelphia, it will be very interesting.”

This school year has had many twists and turns for sure. Although we are now a virtual campus, stretched throughout the entire country, we are still one SJU family.