Students prepare to leave campus amid COVID-19 outbreak

While many students left campus for the rest of the semester, some stayed and sorted through their plans to get home.

Officials announced Tuesday that classes will move online for the rest of the semester, and students can retrieve the rest of their belongings “sometime after April 5.” In the meantime, students were allowed to live on campus until Friday.

This past week, our photographers talked with students as they prepared to leave the University for the spring semester.

Yosei Izumi, Freshman

When Izumi learned that students needed to move out of their residence halls, he picked up some boxes and began packing.

“I understood the University was going through a lot themselves and it was an uncertain situation from them as well, so I can’t say I have too much to complain.”

Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Tina Peng, Sophomore
“It’s a little depressing. For most international students, we’re so far being away from home. Time difference with our family, we already feel homesick from time to time. Now that a lot of my friends are already home, whether they’re American or international. Even though there are some people staying on campus at this moment we shouldn’t be meeting each other that often. We should keep social distance. You really take time alone for yourself but also, it’s spring break and I’m alone.”
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Erik Homovich, Sophomore
Erik Homovich stands outside of District House with his belongings as he prepares to move back home to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Rhonda Wang and Patrick Yang, masters students
Wang flew home to China Thursday due to coronavirus concerns and needed Patrick’s luggage, which they were picking up from his apartment.
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Georgie Britcher, Sophomore

Sophomore Georgie Britcher prepares to move out of her Hensley Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus. Britcher said she plans to maintain her campaign for Student Association president through live streams and other forms of online campaigning while students take their classes virtually.

“Balancing is hard: school work, election and this [coronavirus].”

Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Steven Huang, Sophomore
“There was a good meme on Chinese websites that says ‘the Chinese fight over the virus in first half, then the rest of the world fights the virus for the second half, and international students fight the whole game.’ We are doing donations back to China, that’s how we were fighting the first half as international students. And now the second half, we as international students, we are fighting the virus ourselves in the United States, or international students in Italy, Japan, Korean, Iran. Being an international student is hard, I just hope that people can feel that and understand that and try to take care of them.”
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Ieshuha Abreu, Freshman
“As an international student from Mexico I won’t be able to come back. All this stuff is going into storage and I’ll be leaving for my country and probably never come back.”
Akash Pamarthy | Photographer
Zhisheng Chen, Freshman

Before officials said classes would move online for the semester, Chen said he hoped classes would pick up after April 5, when students were originally expected to return. Chen said he booked a flight for March 29 but it was canceled.

“I want to get out earlier and have to transfer at a lot of airports. I know it’s really dangerous during the flight, but I think it’s better go to back to China. We are going through history right now.”

Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Lucia Holzheu, Sophomore
“I was told that I couldn’t come back to the dorm so I had to email to ask if I could come to get a few books for school for studying. Otherwise they said initially that we wouldn’t be allowed to come back and that the stuff would stay where it is. Sad to be not be with my friends but it is how it is.”
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Tyler Laverdiere, Junior
“I mean I believe GW is doing their best in a rough and always changing situation. Their main priority is to avoid any repercussions by keeping their students safe and away from campus. Of course they could have done a better job, but developments are being made on an hourly basis. They had to make some tough decisions.”
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Meimei Lu, Freshman
“Honestly, ending this semester short was really devastating. I didn’t have a lot of friends at GW, but the few good things I had were my roommate and a select few people from my floor. It’s particularly sad for us because this was my last opportunity to spend time with them, as I’m leaving in a few months to serve a religious service mission for my church for 18 months. That means I really only had my freshman year with them and even that I couldn’t fully have for myself.”
Akash Pamarthy | Photographer
Shawky Darwish, Freshman
“I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going on and don’t know if we are going to come back. I’m really worried because it’s my freshman year.”
Akash Pamarthy | Photographer
Hangxing Mei, Freshman
“Campus, it’s quiet. It’s kind of like self-meditation because most of the time it’s just me alone at my dorm, which is good and bad. It’s not really a bad thing for me. I really hope the situation can go well in the future so we don’t really have to keep this extraction period anymore.”
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Felipe Deidan, Sophomore
“It’s emotional, but at the end of the day it has to be done because of the safety of the students.”
Akash Pamarthy | Photographer
Tommy Naum
Freshman Tommy Naum (right) gets help moving out of his Madison Hall room from his father Steve Naum (center) and friend Jake Zeller (left). Naum is moving back home to Wisconsin for the rest of the semester.
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Mehdi Mostafa, Freshman
“Both D.C. and New York are going through their own crises, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be too surprising that in a week or two it would be under lockdown. I think it’s almost like choosing your own poison to drink, in a sense.”
Eric Lee | Staff Photographer