When Auburn University made the decision to switch to online classes for the remaining of the spring 2020 semester, a lot of students packed their belongings and chose to complete their coursework at home.
Despite the University closing, however, there were students who decided to stay in Auburn for various reasons. With less people around, they have noticed a few changes in the atmosphere of the city.
Joy Gulley, sophomore in graphic design, said she chose to stay in Auburn because it’s convenient for her.
“I live and work off-campus, so it's easier for me to stay here because my life is here,” Gulley said. “My church, job and friends are all here, so I wanted to stay at my home in Auburn and enjoy the time I have here.”
Haley Willis, junior elementary education major, lives in Auburn with her parents while attending the university and said she has noticed a difference in a community that was once lively and vibrant.
“People are walking around with masks,” Willis said. “You see little to no elder individuals out in public. There are a bit of college students, but you can see most are gone because the traffic isn’t as heavy as it usually is. The energy is different right now.”
Though she hasn’t been on Auburn’s campus since spring break, Gulley has noticed a difference in the city of Auburn as well.
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“I haven’t been on campus at all since coming back, but just from working, it’s pretty dead, and hardly anyone comes in,” she said. “I’ve seen pictures of people on campus, and it looks really empty compared to usual. I know a lot of restaurants and stores in Auburn are doing everything they can to make it through this, so that’s the most significant change for sure.”
In recent weeks, it has been announced that an Auburn University student has been diagnosed with the disease. Gulley said this shocking news has caused her to take the necessary precautions to remain safe during this critical time.
“I am taking the steps to stay safe, healthy and clean during this strange and scary time,” Gulley said. “I’ve just been washing my hands and using hand sanitizer every time I come back home from anywhere that I’ve been. Other than that, I’ve just been keeping things clean like I usually do. I mean you never know who you’ll be in contact with and what they’ve been doing, but I’m doing what I can to lower any chances I have. Though it may not be a major threat to me personally, that doesn’t mean it isn’t to many others, so I’m trying to consider that more than my personal risk.”
Willis said that while the spread of coronavirus continues to increase, her family has taken certain measures to ensure the safety of them and the people around them.
“For one, I’ve been staying in the house,” Willis said. “I only go out if I need something. If I can go without something, I will."
One of the options that Willis said she focused on was making sure the house and the people in it stayed especially clean during this time.
“I’ve disinfected my whole house,” she said. “For the time being, we aren’t letting anyone come by and visit to prevent anything from spreading. Second, we don’t lay in our beds if we’ve been out. We immediately take our clothes off and take a bath.”
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