A quiet campus with very few students


Students remaining on campus currently live in The Hill residence hall. Photo courtesy: qu.edu

Brooke Reilly, News Director

Quinnipiac University closed its housing for the rest of the semester on Sunday, March 15; however, it’s not easy for all students to get home, especially with the severity of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. 

“It’s been tough. I’ve been in contact with my family every day getting updates from them about the countries they are in and updating them on how things are where I am,” senior Kim Kerremans said. “I’ve been doing a lot of these things alone, making sure I don’t get myself or others sick without having my parents around or telling me not to do things.”

Kerremans is an international student from The Netherlands and could not get home safely when campus closed. She and several other students have been given permission to stay on campus during this time.

“There are several students on campus. Many of them are international, and some are not,” Director of International Student Services Sarah Driscoll said. “There’s been a team of people, both in Residential Life and Student Affairs assisting them with a variety of support systems.”

All of the students currently living on campus were relocated to The Hill residence hall, so they were not spread out across both the Mount Carmel and York Hill campuses. The students do not have direct roommates, but some have suitemates. This gives them some company, but also allows them to social distance from each other.

“It’s been tough dealing with it [the pandemic] because I’m staying alone by myself,” first-year student from Sierra Leone Lara Chamas said. “Sometimes it gets really boring, but it’s important to try to distract myself, to keep entertained and always stay in touch with family.”

Although the residence hall that the students are living in has a kitchen, the university is providing them with meals each day. Health services are also available if students are in need of them.

“Quinnipiac has definitely done a great job at reaching out to us and telling us what resources are offered,” sophomore from Slovakia Barbora Hriňáková said. “They supply us with food and cleaning supplies and emotional support as well.”

The students have been told that they should follow the CDC guidelines, to disinfect surfaces and continue to adhere to the Quinnipiac University Student Handbook. They are not allowed to have visitors during this time.

Despite being on campus, they are attending classes, meetings and events virtually just like all of the other Quinnipiac students. Normally, to legally be an international student in the United States, they would be required to be full-time students and take on-ground courses.

“Luckily, given the unprecedented nature of this crisis, they have allowed for students to remain in legal status and complete their coursework online for the semester,” Driscoll said. “We’re grateful for that and just kind of continuing to monitor how things are changing.”

According to Driscoll, the students have adapted well to the situation.

“Students are responding well and being flexible to the changes, seeking out support and asking questions as it relates to their international student status, as well as travel and what they might recommend,” Driscoll said. “I think there are challenges of virtual learning and social distancing, and so I think we’re trying to find ways to be creative and still connect with each other, have a space to feel like we’re a part of a community.”

The students are thankful to have a place to live during these unprecedented times.

“I’m just lucky I still have a place to stay,” Kerremans said. “It sucks to be alone on campus, but it’s easy to get work done without anyone interrupting.”

Moving forward, Driscoll said that the university plans to continue supporting these students.

“We’re going to remain flexible and support the students as best we can, whether they’re home or on campus,” Driscoll said.

The students were notified on Sunday, May 3 that they can stay on campus after the spring semester ends on Friday, May 8 if they need cannot get home. Director of Residential Life Mark DeVilbis said that they can stay for no extra charge through May 31. After that date, they will have to pay an additional cost for summer housing varying by how long they plan to stay.

Updated May 4, 7:00 p.m.