By Amanda Groberg
I was sitting at the kitchen table watching dumb YouTube videos to pass the time. The small space heater to my left was on and blasting my face with hot air, forcing the little strands of hair that couldn’t quite fit into my ponytail to dance. I was eating oven-baked chicken and instant mashed potatoes. But the email hadn’t come yet.
Flash forward a week. My apartment room is white and bare. Boxes litter the floor closest to my bed, leaving just enough room to still get in and out of my warm covers. I wonder about the fish my roommate and I got at the beginning of the semester. Who’s going to keep it? It’ll be our legacy, a pass-along ESA fish. I still need to write a poem.
I have played Super Mario Brothers so much I dream about it. I look outside the window like a dog waiting to bark at the mailman. I’ve gotten sucked into dumb tv shows simply because the house is spotless, my homework is done a week in advance, nothing is happening outside, I’ve already eaten out too much, and Rexburg is practically closed.
The Coronavirus has ruined my second semester at BYU-I.
By Parker Maris Opfar
I sat in Sodavine, sipping on my usual Smooth Presley, chatting with some friends. It had been a weird day. The only thing on everybody’s mind was the Coronavirus. People were buying up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer. All I was thinking about was going bowling with my friends later.
Feeling my phone vibrate, I looked down and saw my friend Grayson had sent a message to my friends and I. He goes to BYU, and was asking me if classes at BYU-Idaho had also been changed to be held remotely or online. Up until then, I had only seen an email about how classes would continue as normal, but precautions would be taken, so I told him that our classes were going to be normal. However, as soon as I sent the message, I checked my email. Classes were cancelled for the next few days, then would continue remotely and online. I sent a second message correcting my error. I didn’t know what to think. I was mad, honestly. The thought of having to finish the semester online was crippling. Motivating myself for an online class is my biggest weakness.
Unsure of what the near future would hold, I continued to enjoy my drink and avoided conversation about COVID-19.
By Josh Gervacio
Broulim’s looked like the opening scene of a zombie movie.
Cars were crammed into unmarked spots. The towers of ice that had been building up all winter long were parking places for trucks with cartoonishly large wheels. Inside, every register was open. Cashiers were ringing up guests quickly, but the lines continued to grow, stretching through the aisles. Students I recognized from campus just a few hours before were in line, holding cases of bottled water. My wife reached for my hand and, in a panicked voice, asked, “Where can we get a gun?”
I had heard about COVID-19 a few weeks before–it was hard not to. The outbreak in China had few towns quarantined, but because it was out of sight, it was out of my mind.
When I began college, I was as much of a “prepper” as a student could be. A few weeks’ worth of food sat next to my camping supplies in the back of my truck, but in recent years, I thought I no longer needed such “childish things.” This was my 1 Corinthians 13:11–I was becoming a man!
Then came the email, “All campus face-to-face classes are cancelled… Students have the choice to remain in the Rexburg area or return home.” The panic had reached my reality.
My wife has always been against owning a gun, but I heard the strain in her voice and knew she was serious.
CAL Ranch was surprisingly calm other than a few people buying ammo. As we got to the front of the line, I told the salesman, “We’d like to see the Glock 19.” I saw the price tag and was instantly turned off. I knew that we could shop around and find a better price elsewhere.
At that moment, I noticed the crowd forming. People were scrambling to purchase every box of ammunition and whatever gun was available. We overheard a customer phone in to ask if a gun could be put on hold–something the salesman said wasn’t an option. That’s when my wife, frustrated with my hesitance, told the salesman to get her the paperwork. In less than twenty minutes, we walked out of the store, gun owners. As we left, what looked like an Urban Outfitters staff meeting was at the counter, filling out paperwork to purchase guns too.
Yeah, this might be the apocalypse.
By Jordan Anderson
Coronavirus to me is not that deadly. I mean there are only a few cases actually in the United States. Times two, I’m in Rexburg, Idaho; there’s barely anyone here. I mean, honestly, the flu has killed more people in January and February than Corona has. I just feel as if the Media outlets are taking everything out of proportion. I have nothing to fear.
(Few Weeks Later)
I now know how deadly Coronavirus is. Right now it has killed 100+ people and there are 3000+ confirmed cases in the U.S. I would have never taken this pandemic seriously if it wasn’t for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announcing that there will be no more meeting together on Sunday or even a live audience at General Conference. School has now canceled face-to-face classes and, on top of all of this, there is a confirmed case in Rexburg right down the street from me. It seems I do have something to fear.
By Noel Arellano
My phone vibrates, I received an official email from BYU-Idaho with the cancellation of school for Friday and Monday classes due to the Corona Virus. My boyfriend and I end up in Meridian, Idaho, at the Sanchez Family home. A church-wide announcement was made that all church meetings were to be cancelled worldwide. Sunday morning, chaos filled the room just like any morning; however, rather than leaving to go to church we gather around in the family room, reverently before the start of sacrament. Brother Sanchez conducted; tears ran down his pale face as the Spirit touched his throbbing heart. My thoughts raced in my head to the first vision that our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith had 200 years ago. Gratitude filled my heart to witness three worthy priesthood holders in the Sanchez home to fulfill priesthood duties. The young boy who was merely 6 years of age said I want to pass the sacrament. No thoughts of the corona virus filled my head, my focus was simply on the Savior and how through his Prophet he prepared us for these last days. The commotion from the outside world did not enter the home–it felt like a pure temple.
By Doug Bates
The news had been buzzing all week with a new virus. The news called it the Coronavirus. It sounds menacing but seemed nothing too serious. Just a very contagious and slightly more serious version of the flu. Rumors spread that as more cases pop up schools could be closed and a nationwide quarantine could be put into effect until it passes.
The first real impact it had in my life started with my Middle East teacher canceling classes. The school hadn’t announced any plans to stop school so Dr. Peck, the middle east teacher, made the first move. He sent out an email that this week would be his last week holding classes and the rest of the semester would be online. Due to his old age, he didn’t want to risk getting the virus as it could mean death for him. I assumed the school wouldn’t follow his example. I assumed that movie theaters and restraints would stay open. I assumed my roommates would stay here. At every turn I assumed wrong. Schools and restaurants closed. Travel has become difficult due to quarantines in different states. Now I sit in a near-empty apartment with one roommate left. This unsuspecting virus changed my mind from hoping I would have a fun semester, to hoping I can find work this summer so I can pay for basic necessities.
By Noah Carrico
Thursday was a day of shock and awe as school was cancelled, emergencies were declared, and relatives reported catching the virus. Friday blew it out of the water.
My wife and I were returning home from a casual date in Idaho Falls. We were leisurely taking advantage of the unexpected holiday. The only spoiler? Savanah had been very sick for about a week, and it was showing no signs of letting up. At first, we worried about she had the novel COVID-19. But the real reason was a lot more surprising.
On a whim, we stopped at Walgreens and picked up a pregnancy test. Less than an hour later, it read positive.
The world stood still. The meaning of such a little test on our lives and our futures, the intensity of realizing distant dreams would soon come true, was near inconceivable. We looked at each other, and at the test, and at each other, and back at the test. When the world started spinning again, it spun a little faster, the sun shone a little brighter and irremovable smile touched our lips. I was gonna be a dad. I was in awe.
By Ashley Chilcutt
There was one month left of school when it hit. It travelled from China, to Italy, to Great Britain, to Hungary, to the States. 26 countries affected. It came in waves through news channels, traffic jams, empty soup shelves, and side-splitting toilet paper memes which made it hard to breathe.
Like a premature Halloween feature on Friday the 13th, TV screens filled with sunken, zombie-like faces dressed in medical masks, the only barriers between lungs and the outside air.
Then, the apocalyptic measures stopped the world.
Travel, Cancelled. Courtesy, Cancelled. Classes, Cancelled. Sneezing, Cancelled. Church, Cancelled. Breathing, Cancelled.
Not breathing seemed to be the only remedy. If we all stopped breathing, then everyone could live virus-free without fear of catching the cureless, fever-chilling pneumonia. Then, we could be free.
The Corona virus crossed without looking, without a tinge of guilt. It ran naked through the streets, undressing every national vulnerability. It laughed in the faces of die-hard-essential-oils advocates who rub their skins with concentrated fragrance to combat this incurable strain.
Corona Virus shook the whole Earth.
Campus was a ghost town, but grocery stores crawled with shoppers like a Black Friday infestation. Chinese citizens in protest were beat on subway train cars for trying to relocate. Americans sat in disbelief, praying to God for immunity but trapped inside quarantined homes filled with Chinese-made things. The faith of Salt Lake City only spared itself a week before the Corona shock was felt. Fearless Moroni dropped his trump during the earthly tremors which ensued days after the pandemic breakout, causing the panicking city to seize in a spell of epilepsy, magnitude 5.7.
1.2. 4. 16. 256. 211,853 diagnosed with the virus. Its exponential growth sends all into hiding, cowering under wooden rooves like ants under rocks.
I imagined an old nursing-home woman diagnosed with one month left. In my mind, she lived only 3 days past a month, her family cherishing the seconds hoping time would stretch into the miracle years that are given to some, but inevitably disappointed by the gravity of death.
Despite the dull, worry-ridden times, the campus bell still chimes jovially at every top hour, ringing in the infectious air which touches every living thing as the inescapable need to breathe curses the world.
By Danielle Clegg
No food, no fire, and no signal. We were up in the mountains a couple miles from my house but stranded, as my brothers put it.
24 hours after classes got cancelled and school shut down for the COVID-19, we took off for the weekend. Spring skirted the house with mud puddles making up our lawn, but winter still reigned above the tree line of the canyon.
Joe and Kai, the 14-year-old twins, went mudding through the field on snowmobiles to get to the snow with me and Maniah hanging on behind. The rest of the crew said they would meet us at the top. I guess their lack of appearance an hour later was another manifestation of ‘farmer standard time.’
We waited under some pines as a snowstorm set in and all went white. I watched Maniah’s snow suit go from a light Carhartt color to a sopping brown paper bag. We began swapping clothing to keep her warm. Joe and Kai stripped two trees and threw together an all-American boy scout pine cave so that we could ‘stay warm.’ The four of us hunkered down in the underground hut built for one. We were actually only a couple of miles from a fireplace, a warm house, and dry clothes. And yet, we were ‘stranded’ in a pine cave, quarantined from anything breathing the same air besides our siblings.
By Eli Dial
Just a few hours after receiving the email about classes being cancelled because of coronavirus, I sat among my roommates in our apartment, discussing many changes that would need to be made in case of emergencies.
“Whenever one of us needs to go shopping, we need to go as a group,” I say. “We’ll have to work together and utilize our skills to make sure we get what we need efficiently.”
“Alright,” Tyler responds. “How do you propose that we do that?”
“This is how it’s gonna go down. Tyler, we’ll have you standing in line to claim our spot and fight anyone who tries to cut you. I’ve been going running recently, so I’ll run throughout the store getting everything that we need.”
“What about me?” Trevor asks. A second later, he comes up with an idea. “I’ll be the getaway driver!”
I agreed. “Yes! You’ll be right outside the door of the store, so we can run to you as soon as we finish paying for our stuff.”
Just like that, we had an emergency plan to get toilet paper.
By Amanda Dixon
Up until this point the idea of Covid19 affecting me didn’t cross my mind, but it happened. Corona finally made its way to little Rexburg.
March 11, 2020. A loud knock sounded from behind the apartment door. My cousin Rachel opened it, and her boyfriend gave some surprising news.
“My friend was diagnosed with the corona virus and will be quarantined for the next two weeks and I was with him yesterday,” he said, making sure his body remained outside.
Plastering a smile on my face, I walked to class, trying to live my life as if everything felt normal. But after class the next day, I walked home to the image of my roommates watching “The Masked Singer” and reading the news that all classes would be online.
On March 12, 2020, my mom drove to Rexburg. We had a healthy breakfast of Kashi cereal and continued packing my belongings to drive to Utah. A thick weight pressed against my heart. My mom tried making conversation, but my glazed eyes peered out the window as a stream of tears rolled off my cheeks.
I took a deep breath and said with a glimpse of hope.
“We can do this.”
By Brooke Eastman
Mom facetimes me from Costco. She waited an hour just to get in. Because they were out of town for the craziness we were low on groceries. I facetime my parents that night and my trip to Seattle gets postponed. No job interviews there anymore. I begin to worry about finding work.
I leave Rexburg. I say some hard goodbyes to my roommates, wondering if I can even see them before next fall and if travel will be allowed. On the plane I distract my tears with Netflix’s show “Love is Blind.” When we land, I have a swarm of messages that a BYU-Idaho student has the coronavirus. The last place I expected it was in my rural college town, but I was wrong.
I get to my house. My mom instructs me to shower and change my clothes right away since I’ve been to the airport. My mom tells me we are under quarantine. We can only leave for work or the grocery store. My sister has a cough, no fever, and two doctors have said it’s not contagious. But my mom is too scared to take her anywhere. Before she goes to bed I give her vitamin C and set up her humidifier. I go to bed.
I wake up. My text messages are ringing and social media is all about the earthquake in Utah. My mom sent this to our family group chat, “31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. 32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.33 And there shall be earthquakes also in diverse places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me.” During scripture study, my mom feels impressed to go to the grocery store again. She fights the prompting with the fact she already has groceries, but decided to go anyway. While at Sprouts, the bulk manager asks my mom if she wants 50-pound bags of Rice and Oatmeal at 40% off. She says yes, feeling that it is a sign since everything is sold out. She’s been trying to use our frozen chicken sparingly, but my dad requested a chicken dish so she went to go see even if there was any. To her shock, her favorite chicken tenderloins are on sale, and there are about 20 packs. She tries to tell other people at the grocery store around her, but no one gets it. My mom decides to buy ten packages just in case.
Wednesday at Lunch.
My dad talks about how Hawaii has just been closed to visitors. My parents’ anniversary trip is next week. He just canceled our summer rental on Lake Sammamish in Seattle. Life is different than when I was in Arizona a week and a half ago.
By Garrett Eddy
It was a sunny and warm day, which was unusual for this early in the year. Skiers wished the cold to stay, while others wished it away. I was part of the first group.
We were driving to the mountain and it was supposed to be the best day this spring. It was 30 degrees and it had just snowed 10 inches the night before. My phone perched in its usual position when I can see the notifications but still have my eyes on the road. It buzzed, I saw who the email was from and then saw one word. Closed. It had closed. The ski resort where we had so often visited this season and had the best of times was closed for the rest of the season because of the one thing we couldn’t control. The Coronavirus.
It had been something we’ve known about for a long time. They told us to quarantine ourselves. They canceled school. They even canceled church. But Targhee never closed. Not until this moment. It just all seemed like it was just a suggestion and we had school off, and we could have class up on the mountain. It wasn’t until this moment that it got me; it was something we should pay attention too.
By Kelli Ferre
From the couch, I feet propped up on the wooden chair that has become my new desk. I sighed heavily and looked around the room. My mind had no more space for focusing. Online classes were tiring, and I found myself turning off the camera halfway through each class so I could rest my eyes for a second.
After classes, my boyfriend called. “Wanna play fugitive?” I jumped with excitement! That night, a group of 20 or so bored online college students gathered together with energy that needed to be released. We split into teams and started running down the night streets.
I noticed a dark shadow running until he got stuck waiting at the crosswalk. It was my perfect opportunity to catch him from behind and tag him. I started sprinting faster than I thought possible. I was going to catch him. I picked up even more speed. I leaped over a log on the ground, not slowing down at all. As my foot came down to land, my foot discovered a smaller log. It crashed down and twisted in all different directions with an audible crack. I rolled to the ground, screaming in pain.
But having a broken ankle is a lot easier when you’re quarantined inside. Thanks, corona.
By Whitney Freeman
I was going home.
After getting off of a 3 hour phone call with my mom, 30 minutes later, around 4:15 pm I was picking up the phone in disbelief to tell her that Brigham Young University Idaho had just announced that all campus face-to-face classes were canceled for five days and would be resuming through online instruction. Although housing was going to continue to be available, it was suggested that we return home for the four weeks left of the semester.
Due to a Fall/Winter track, I was done for now, so the question of my wellbeing was no longer “Do I stay or do I go home?” It became, “Do my parents come get me now, or do they come get me in April at the official end of the semester?”
45 minutes after deciding that my mom and dad needed to talk and figure out what they were even capable of doing at the time, I entered into a three way phone call between them where the first thing I was told was that they were “fighting over who was coming to get me.”
I was going home.
My dad drove through the night, only to stop at the rest area before Gooding, Idaho, to sleep for 4 hours.
I spent some time that night with two of my roommates who also happen to be a couple of my really great friends. During this time, I definitely shed some silent tears.
In a way, really without my permission, I was being uprooted and leaving.
I was leaving my friends and the lifestyle I was so comfortable with.
In the span of about 12 hours, I had heard that everything at BYU-I was canceled, I had found out that my father was coming to get me, and I left Friday morning to go another 10 hours back to Washington.
I was going home.
By Taylor Gale
The warmth of the sunshine, but the coolness of the air hit my face simultaneously as I walked back from the beautiful white brick building on campus back to my apartment. As the words from “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie transferred from my earphones to my mind, and then to the soft hum that escaped my lips, loud ringing noise rudely interrupted an intensely important and emotional sing-a-long moment. As I said hello, I hear my mother’s voice ask, in a rather serious manner: “Have you heard the news?” I informed her I had been in class and not using my phone and asked her to fill me in on what she had heard. She explained to me that the spread of the coronavirus was amplifying and intensifying, and due to that, my college campus would be closing. She explained that this was most likely the beginning of the mayhem sure to follow, and that I should seriously consider returning home to California where my family had an extensive amount of food in storage in case of emergency. All my plans and hopes for the next few months were suddenly put on pause.
By Hannah Glunt
At first, it all seemed a little silly.
My teacher started fist bumping us instead of shaking our hands so we wouldn’t spread germs. Everyone reminded each other to use hand sanitizer more frequently. It was all lighthearted precautions in preparation for the end of the semester. Then, everything was shut down.
There are two different kinds of people that I have encountered since the pandemic became official. Those who don’t care and those who are panicking. All the toilet paper was gone. People started to panic, buying out all the hand sanitizer, any anti-bacteria supplies, canned food, and anything you might need for an apocalypse. The school closed and people emptied out of Rexburg. Students are now running loose with extra time to kill due to no class and the tempting cheap flights and spontaneous ideas to travel led them to take risks.
One of my roommates might have the Coronavirus. That is when it became real. We all quarantined. Wiping down everything we touched and washing our hands to the point of our hands being too dry. I never thought sickness could affect my life so much. I thought Trump’s election would affect me more than this. Looks like I was wrong.
By Bryce Haley
My last class for the day had ended. It was actually a nice day in Rexburg, which is rare during the winter semester of BYU-Idaho. Things seemed pretty normal, besides a Utah Jazz game being canceled last night. It almost didn’t feel real. All this panic about a foreign disease. Every day the headlines read Covid-19 case confirmed, I never thought it would shut anything down. Then the news came. BYU-Idaho would be canceling classes till Wednesday of next week! It was almost as if someone had hit a panic a button that sent everyone in this little town into a toilet paper frenzy!
I drove to Albertsons which I thought would not be as crowded as the other grocery stores in town. I was very wrong. I stood in line for two hours just to buy a gallon of milk, some bread, and soap. Things were flying off the shelf. There wasn’t a roll of toilet paper, or a dispenser of hand sanitizer in sight. None of it seemed real. It really felt like I was living in a Hollywood pandemic movie.
By Caleb Hatch
By Cameron Holdaway
I looked down at my phone and saw a text message from my older sister, saying that all of her classes were cancelled. A few minutes later I checked my school email and saw the announcement that all classes would be cancelled and switched to online for the rest of the semester because of the growing pandemic of Coronavirus. I was with a group discussing a video project we were working on and we all became very confused about the situation and what we would do about it. All of a sudden almost all motivation or desire to do homework went down the drain. It was such as liberating feeling to know that for the next few days, I wouldn’t have to worry about waking up early to walk to class. The thought of being able to go home early and finish the rest of the semester at my own house, sounded very appealing. After the announcement my roommates and I planned a whole bunch of adventures, including caving, off-roading, hot-tubing, and playing catch and spike ball at Porter Park. I also got the news that my dad began to feel tired and sick and had to go to the hospital to be treated, and the news about the earthquake that just happened in Utah has my family worried about what will happen next.
by Devann Horton
Thanks to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) schools have been shut down, sports have been cancelled, senior seasons cut short, and now at BYUI classes for the rest of winter semester and spring have been moved online. I personally don’t do well with online courses and now have to quit the job I just got, sell a contract that will most likely not be bought, and stay away from my hometown. My mother actually said in much more appropriate words to “Stay in Rexburg because I’m not paying your medical bills if you come home.” I have a weak immune system so if I were to catch this virus … but the likelihood of me dying is still slim. However, I would have to be in the hospital for a few weeks. So, I came up with a plan. Mind you, it’s not a great plan but, it is a plan.
When the winter semester is over I will be going to Colorado to go and visit my sister and nieces before I inevitably head home to beautiful, corona-filled San Diego, CA. I will get my old job back in the germ-filled pool known as Downtown San Diego and pray to the man upstairs that I don’t catch anything. So, by the middle of June I can move out to Texas to live with my grandparents and get my pilot’s license which is something I’ve been wanting to do and never had the time too, so thanks COVID-19 for the extra time. After the summer ends I will eventually return to Rexburg for the fall semester hoping that they will have face-to-face classes again and hoping that I don’t actually die from the virus for which everyone seems to think you need an abundance of toilet paper, wet wipes, and other things that you would never expect your local Walmart to sell out of. I guess the one thing I’ve learned from this whole experience is that people do actually take care of themselves and their bodies, so there was a little restoration in humanity for me. Which had quickly faded away when I heard from my mother, a family friend of ours who just got out of a full body cast, got run down in a grocery store…a grocery store. Word of advice to my classmates or anyone really, stay home, binge watch Netflix, and stay safe. You never know who’s rolling down aisle five ready to fight you for the last bag of green beans in the freezer.
By Manimatana Lee
A busy day at the call center, I patiently wait for a new call to come through.
As I hear the quietness in my row, suddenly, my coworker behind me announces loudly saying, “School is cancelled from Thursday to Tuesday! All classes will be all online for the rest of the semester.”
I turn around to glance at her, confusingly.
“What do you mean? There won’t be more classes?”
Due to the coronavirus blowing through nationwide and becoming a deadly disease, BYU-Idaho has cancelled face to face classes to slow the virus down.
I come home from work and immediately search through tickets available to fly back home to Wisconsin and visit my family (It’s been quite a while since I have seen them) only to find out that my husband and I cannot leave our apartment for longer than two months.
We are saddened to find out the heart-crushing truth about not being able to leave our apartment for a certain amount of time. So, I have decided it is safest to remain in my own apartment and quarantine for the time being.
Perhaps, we could save more people by staying in and avoiding big crowds.
By Linzi Livingston
I was folding a blue sweat towel at the BYU-I Fitness Center when I received the news that school is going to be online. Questions such as, “Am I going to stay in Rexburg? Will work continue? What friends are leaving?” all ran through my head as I completed my five-hour shift. Many of my friends started packing and were set to leave that weekend to return home. I had two options. I could either still go home the following weekend like I had planned a few weeks prior to the Virus. Or, I could stay in Rexburg, finish working, and go home at the end of the semester. As a few of my favorite roommates said they were leaving, I decided I was going to go home. I visited my friends and said sad goodbyes as I am leaving on a mission this summer. I packed up my room, put my decorations in boxes, and cleaned my apartment. I planned to leave Thursday morning to go to Utah and fly out from there back to Washington. I wake up Thursday morning up at 6:45 a.m. and go down to the car to find a boot on the back tire. Just my luck. Goodbye, paycheck.
By Amy Lund
Thursday, March 12, just another normal day. I was swiping through Instagram when an ad popped up. Dairy Queen, buy one Blizzard, get the second for eighty cents! I looked over at my roommate. We knew where we were headed.
30 minutes later, I took the last bite of my chocolate snickers Blizzard. Delicious. I looked out the window of Dairy Queen, the street in front of us was lined with cars all headed North, they could only be going one place. Walmart.
My mind raced, “Uh-Oh, what was going on? I thought they already bought all the toilet paper?”
I pulled out my phone and checked my email. BYU-I face to face classes were canceled due to the COVID-19, students were welcome to return home. My roommate and I looked at each other. She had just taken a bite of her blizzard, the red spoon stuck out of her mouth, her eyes widening by the second. A moment of silence. Then an obnoxious, “What?” came from her lips.
We both decided to stay and now spend our time staying away from people and laughing at Coronavirus memes that never seem to get old.
By Jackson Mixon
I was going to the gym late today. I had fallen behind in one of my classes and could not prioritize the gym that afternoon. But when I managed to get there around 4:30 last Wednesday, I was thinking about everything but a pandemic sweeping the nation. Girls, grades, and gyms was what was running through my brain. To me, the gym is a place of peace, a place to both relax and get hyped. Coronavirus may not have physically made its way to Rexburg yet, but it surely planted itself in my mind.
I received a text in a group chat asking if I had heard the news. What news? I can’t stand when messages start off like that. The school is switching to online next semester. That was it. The news was broken to me as swiftly as possible. Perhaps my roommate did not understand how this information would negatively affect me. He would later apologize for ruining my workout, but for the short remainder I stayed in the gym I could not focus. Every bar I benched, every plate I pressed, every cable I curled, ruined. I could think of nothing else but coronavirus. I ended up leaving to join my friends gathering to discuss their plans and options for schooling. My heart rate was quick. I do not know if it was from the uncertainty in the air or the pre-workout still lingering in my veins.
By Jessica Moss
Couldn’t believe it when I heard it. School canceled?! The inner grade-schooler in me made a victorious fist bump to the air, but all anyone saw was a giddy smile. Then the next sentence came and the shock of it made that same little school girl lower her fist in shock. “And church is cancelled till further notice. “Wow!” Was all I could utter under my breath. This little virus didn’t seem so little to me anymore.
Then, just like THAT *snap of the fingers* campus was all but empty as people started to leave for home. Flashes of Avengers- Infinity War came to mind as the population was cut in half, to a third and then a handful. What is an extrovert supposed to do? Well, go on campus and sit at the crossroads to watch other sad lonely people, of course! So, I did. I just sat at those spindly tables, propping up my laptop for the effect of looking busy, and took a deep, soothing breath.
“People,” I sighed. The lack of interaction had been killing me all week and there were only so many shows you could watch on Netflix before you lose your mind. I had been close, thank goodness I got away before my brain started oozing out my ears. Momma had always warned me that too many movies made your brain melt, and purple gloop would ensue.
Every day I came back for the company of strangers, and every day the chance of getting the Coronavirus went up. So many people and so many interactions with random strangers, it was a nice vacation from being stuck at the apartment all day. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I caught the coronavirus.
By Tiffany Nord
“What’s the connection? Wait…hold on, what’s the connection?” My friend Harrison says to the person the other end of the phone. He tells them to hold on again and steps outside my apartment. Boxes are stacked left and right in the living room. Two of my roommates are leaving campus to be with family. Only hours ago, one of my roommates received a phone call from her dad demanding her to come home. Urgency was in his voice. He had heard about the case on campus and could not risk his daughter getting infected. After she hung up, we spent all day packing her things up and hauling them to her car. Later in the evening I get a text that another one of my roommates was leaving the next day as well. So here we were finishing sorting kitchen supplies and trying to somewhat enjoy the last night we had together. When Harrison got the call, I turned to my friend and we joked about him trying to rob a bank. 10 minutes after Harry had left the room, he opens our door to our apartment. He doesn’t step in. “Hey guys…I am so sorry. I think I might be a carrier of the coronavirus.” Anxiety trickles into the room. He has to repeat his connection to the infected person 8 times for everyone to get the message. The invisible disease all at once felt very visible.
By Rachel Paine
I’m sitting in my apartment, eating cereal out of a mug when I get the text. All of a sudden, my phone starts blowing up from English class peers, math professors, and TA’s. Chaos defines the next couple weeks of my life here in Rexburg, Idaho. A party at 9:30 rings on my friend’s phone, a person passes me in the hallway with a suitcase in hand. My roommates and I even started planning a quick spring break trip to Los Angeles.
We went to Walmart that night to get vacuum bags and containers in preparation of the big move ahead of us. No one knew what was going on, but we planned for the worst. My roommate grabbed a Mountain Dew Kickstart from the fridge by the registers “just in case.”
Since that night, my roommates and I have been struggling to get our last goodbye in with each other along with juggling online classes, catching up on missionary updates, and packing to leave.
Today, I’m still sitting in my apartment, trying to avoid the stress that creeps into my mind whenever I think about the future. I am heading home on Saturday and only half of my apartment is packed. But instead I opt to go to the movies with friends or stop by Crumbl just one last time because that is what is important to me, and I don’t know when I will be in this spot with these people ever again.
By Amanda Penrod
A week and a half in – here’s what people are saying:
My roommates and I have nearly killed each other. The cabin fever has really been getting to us and half the time we’re yelling, laughing or crying. One of my roommates is convinced he’s already immune to the virus because he hung out with a Chinese girl earlier this year so maybe I’ve already been exposed and I’m immune? At least I’ve got one thing going for me.
The only thing that’s going to kill me with this thing is the number of memes that are imploding my inbox.
The sooner I get the virus the better. That way my immune system will fight it off and I won’t have to worry about it anymore! Maybe I should start licking my hands after going to the grocery store.
All these snowflakes around here are traveling all over the place just because everything’s cheap. They’re not thinking about anyone else but themselves! What about us folks they’re gonna infect with their virus?! Stay away snowflakes. And stay indoors.
I go from my bed to my couch back to my bed. It’s pretty much what I’ve been training for my whole college life.
By Haley Pospisil
In the time it took to sit and eat a Jimmy John’s sandwich and write an essay, the world, it seemed, turned upside down. My boyfriend, Caleb, and I exchanged looks as his roommate burst into the room holding his phone high. No school for a week. Minutes later, social media was absolutely flooded with screenshots of church, colleges, Disneyland, and events cancelled. The homework grind slowly halted as the excitement and fear of the unknown set in with roommates and friends from all over. We quickly compiled a list we needed from the store and set out. Pure craziness is the best way to describe the energy inside Walmart. Families and college kids alike were snatching all the toilet paper and canned goods off the shelves.
A week later, Caleb and I sit in his black Subaru as we cruise in the rolling Nevada hills. A week full of shocking cancellations and new updates daily from the internet. The past week feels longer than the past three months combined. It’s the strangest feeling to be in a global pandemic, a national emergency. We talk about how life will be in another week from now, a month. But for now, sunny California and family are in our near future.
By Julia Quizon
Thursday, 5 PM MST. I didn’t expect to wake up to the end of the world after my three-hour nap. My phone had three missed calls and at least ten people asking me if I’d seen the most recent announcements. Apparently, a lot can happen while I’m asleep.
Friday, all-day. Friday felt like a dream. There weren’t a lot of people outside and cars were starting to go missing one by one. I don’t remember much, but I do know that I wanted to go home.
Saturday, 8:30 AM. Since large school gatherings were canceled effective Monday, Extravadance was going to be a one-show only event on Saturday to get through the loophole. I had to ‘know’ someone to get in. All I’ve got to say is that it was a bummer that not more people could have seen it in person.
Church on Couches
Sunday, 9 AM. It was quite an experience to have church service on my apartment couches. There is a first for everything, after all.
Packing It All Up
Monday and Tuesday, all-day. “Disaster” and “apocalypse” is what described these two days. One, to describe the movies that we watched all day, and two, to describe the state of our apartment after all those who were leaving packed up.
Earthquakes: Changer of Plans
Wednesday, 9 AM. The earthquakes in SLC grounded my brother and I’s flight home. My brother JJ’s old roommate James (and his wife Gracie) offered us a place to crash for the night. Pizza and Ant-Man relieved some stress.
Delay after Delay
Thursday, 6 AM. Our first flight to Phoenix was delayed and while in the air, we missed our flight to DC. They rebooked us for a flight to San Antonio, Texas then one to St. Louis, Missouri. Finally, at 5:30 PM CDT, we boarded flight 4/4 to the east coast.
Our Lost Suitcases
Thursday, 10 PM EST. We waited at the baggage claim until the belt stopped moving. After thirty minutes of talking and phone calling, Baggage Services said our suitcases were MIA and that most likely, they were in Baltimore, Maryland.
Home = Quarantine
Thursday, 11 PM. Before even feeding us dinner, my parents made us disinfect all our stuff, take showers, and get a change of clothes. Finally, at 11:30 PM, I ate my burnt pizza and chicken pot pie in peace.
By Carter Riggins
With one simple email, my entire life was changed.
I was driving to Idaho Falls with my fiancé when my phone buzzed with a notification from the school saying classes are strictly moving to online. At first I was excited, as I thought this meant that my life would become much easier, and less stressful because of all the extra time I will have. I could not have been further from the truth.
Over the next week I continued to receive emails from the school, as well as the church about policy and rule changes. We were being notified that we won’t be attending church, spring semester would be completely online, as well as other changes being made. None of these emails bugged me or really affected me too much, until I got the email that completely ruined my entire week. The church had announced that all meetings over 50 people are canceled, as well as all sealings are limited to 8 people.
We were planning on getting married May 23 with all of our 90+ family members there, a sealing with 68 people, and the typical overly-done reception. None of this is now going to happen. Instead, I have spent multiple nights holding and comforting my crying fiancé, who’s dream wedding she has been planning since she was a child is not going to happen. The new plan? We are going to have our parents and siblings with us at the temple, a small luncheon at Olive Garden, (if it stays open that long) and no reception. This means no celebration as we walk out of the temple, no cutting of the cake, and family members excitedly making a line of sparklers leading to our decorated car that will take us off into our honeymoon.
By Nakai Schaefermeyer
“I’m going to give everyone a handshake so that I can be the reason the school closes and everyone gets to go home,” Ben jokingly said as he had emailed our professor that he was sick and would not be making it to class that day.
I didn’t really believe that what I was hearing was the truth as my roommate burst through the door yelling that classes were canceled. Having had a hard time trying to get up from my nap, I wasn’t able to make much sense of what was going on. I had fallen asleep for only an hour, but within that hour the Coronavirus had somehow gotten the world in chaos, including our school. Our quiet BYU-Idaho, middle-of-nowhere school was closing down. So much uncertainty, so many questions, so much chaos. But somehow with all of those things combined, I felt peace.
By Nicole Soubie
As I was sitting in Mac Lab in the McKay Library struggling to figure out how to work Photoshop, a girl turns to me and asks, “Hey, did you get the email that they’re cancelling school?” This immediately got the attention of everyone around. A conversation erupted about what to do and where to go. I close down Photoshop and call my dad. “I might be coming home tomorrow!” I joked as I thought about the 14-hour drive home. He couldn’t believe it. We talked about packing up all my things and coming home within the next two days. Little did I know I’d actually be home in the next two days. Everything happened so fast. The news came on Friday. All my belongings were packed up and stored by Saturday. And early in the morning on Sunday, I made the trek back home to Arizona. It was a bittersweet moment knowing I had to leave my boyfriend to long distance, but also to see my family once again. The weather was perfect in Arizona. 80 degrees, sun shining, a couple clouds in the sky. So, I did what any other girl would do after coming home during a pandemic: soak up the sun and go tanning.
By Jacob Thompson
The class was abuzz with nervous excitement when I sat in my rigid desk near the front of the room. The coronavirus seemed to be on everybody’s minds except mine. My mind focused on the persuasive speech that I had to give during class. My heart throbbed in my chest and I noticed a nervous twitch in my hands as I thumbed through my note cards. “I can’t believe classes have been canceled” said one of my classmates, Tre’, with a smile. “What? There is no way! Classes have been canceled?” I questioned. I flipped out my email rapidly as the class cancellations flooded my ears. Tre’ was right. Classes would now be held online.
Over the next few days, I scoffed at the panic of others thinking that COVID19 would soon be treated like a common cold. Then the university campus shut down. Then the Church. Then my job. After the many shutdowns I began to question my treatment of the virus as a hoax. I reasoned that it could not be the end of the world. It is not that bad. It’s not like government is shutting down or earthquakes are happening, right?
By Brooke Witten
“Are you going to stay?” I ask hopefully.
“I think so. I want to.” He responds with a shrug.
I asked hoping he will stay. Knowing fully irony that is, I have no idea if I’m staying either. The conversation I had with my mom earlier pops in my head.
“I’m worried about you! You’re delicate! You already have a compromised immune system! You’re delicate.” She says, ending a little softer.
All her worry feels palpable as it she chatters to me about what I should do over the phone. I know she won’t tell me to come home but also, I know she wants me to, and I worry about her worrying. It’s a vicious cycle of worry that gets no one, nowhere, fast.
His lips press on my cheek breaking me from my cyclic worrying. I wrap my arms around his neck and think, yes, I’d like to stay right here. A glowing smile stretches on my face because maybe this quarantine thing won’t be so bad.
*These stories were contributed to Scroll by students from Comm 111.