COVID-19: One year later

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By: Kate Luce


It’s been nearly one year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of one year, many things have changed in the world and life for those at IU South Bend. Mask-wearing and social distancing have all become the norm. Let’s dive into the past year.

Jan. 29: Indiana had its first suspected case of COVID-19, reported the Indy Star. The patient in Porter County tested negative, but it would not be long until Indiana’s first official case and death became present here in the Hoosier state.

March 2: IU Health professionals speak on COVID-19 and what they know so far.

March 4: IU announced that students in Italy could stay or leave to finish their study abroad program. According to the Indiana Daily Student, at the time there were 300 deaths reported and 10,000 cases of COVID-19. Things were only going to get worse in Italy.

March 5: IU canceled all spring break study abroad trips that next day. It would only be a few weeks later when all study abroad trips had to be put on hold for 2020.

March 6: Indiana had its first case of COVID-19, according to the Indy Star. The man was from the Indianapolis area. Governor Eric Holcomb declared the State of Emergency in response.

March 10: IU announced that students, staff and faculty would have just two-weeks of online classes after spring break due to COVID-19. 

March 15: IU announced that after an extended spring break, students would move online for the rest of the semester, an unexpected but expected course of action, as many universities throughout the country were doing the same. Students, staff and faculty had to shift to a new sense of normalcy. While some classes transitioned smoother than others, students and faculty adapted as best as they could.

March 16: Indiana reported the first death from COVID-19 on March 16th. The Indy Star reported that Roberta “Birdie” Shelton, 69, of Indianapolis, passed away after being admitted for COVID-19 just nine days before.

March 20: An unfortunate but expected announcement came to all IU students amid the start of the pandemic. This announcement postponed all graduation ceremonies until a further date when conditions allow. Graduates would have an online ceremony once the semester ends, and also would be allowed to attend the 2021 graduation. 

March 23: The Stay-at-Home order was upon Hoosiers, according to the Indy Star. This order was from March 24 to April 7. At the time, seven people died due to COVID-19 in Indiana.

In addition, IU announced that all summer study abroad trips would be canceled for 2020 due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Money was refunded to students who were expected to travel.

March 26: IU announced that all summer classes would be pushed online, according to the Indiana Daily Student. To follow, all summer events were canceled. 

May 27: The decision was finalized for the Fall semester. The IU Restart Committee concluded that 2021 classes would be able to have both online and in-person components, according to News at IU.

Fall classes would meet in person from August 24th to November 20th and would shift to online instruction on November 30th and go on until December 20th. Spring classes would start online from January 19th until February 7th, then classes would shift in person until May 9th. Additionally, a winter session was officially added to IU’s calendar from December 21st until January 7th, as it would provide students with an opportunity to take any additional credits.

The move for part of the semester to be online was due to the potential holiday travel that may be happening.

Additionally, IU teamed up with IU Health to provide COVID-19 screening, testing and management for students, staff and faculty throughout Indiana.

May 28: Indiana reached a grim milestone, reaching the 1,000th COVID-19 death, according to the Indy Star.

Aug. 24: The fall semester officially began. Students were able to go back to campus. Just a week before students moved back onto campus and were tested for COVID-19 before moving in. Equipped with masks, social distancing and increased hand washing, it was a relief to many to be back in the classroom. The campuses felt less empty with the return of students. However, only a third of the classes were in-person. Classes would shift entirely online as the semester finished.

Sept. 23: IU requires flu shots for students, staff and faculty. This requirement was supposed to help curve hospital visits during the pandemic. 

Nov. 17: St. Joseph County saw one of the biggest increases in positive COVID-19 cases. Nationally, a large increase occurred as well.

Dec. 21: The winter session officially began at IU. Students could catch up on courses or take more classes with this accelerated semester. In addition, this session would cost undergraduates nothing if they chose to use IU’s banded tuition rate. Students should expect this session to be a mainstay on campus.

Jan. 10: The spring semester officially began, albeit, online. This was to help curve COVID-19 cases after the holidays. Students officially returned to in-person learning on Feb. 7. Students returned to campus housing a week before classes were ready and would also be greeted with on-sight COVID-19 testing measures.

Wellness Days were another new addition to the spring semester. Rather than have a spring break, IU announced that wellness days replace it for this year. Wellness Days gave students a day off of school and assignments. 

Jan. 11: As the spring semester warmed up, some changes were made to mitigation testing at IU. Testing was going to happen more often to more people, said News at IU. Students who were on campus were expected to be tested at least once a week. 

Additionally, at IU South Bend, we shifted from Vault Health to use IU Health’s mitigation testing. It used the same method, saliva collection, but was much faster at providing results.

Feb. 4: Indiana reported its 10,000 COVID-19 related deaths, according to the Indy Star. Unfortunately for February, Indiana would also see its 11,000 and 12,000 COVID-19 related deaths.

Feb. 22: Amidst it all, IU announced that both 2020 and 2021 graduates would receive an in-person commencement. Graduates would have their ceremony outside, but without any guests. While the announcement received mixed responses, the university wanted to recognize students for the time and hard work they have put in, even during a pandemic.

Feb 24: Just two days later, IU made another announcement: fall 2021 would officially go entirely in-person, according to News at IU. COVID-19 protocols, mask-wearing and mitigation testing will still be in place, but with vaccination efforts heading in a positive direction, the hope is that the majority will be able to be vaccinated by the fall.

March 10: On March 10th, Bethany Nolan wrote a year in review for IU News on all the university has done to combat COVID-19 and keep everyone safe and healthy.

– So far, there have been 20 million participants taking part in 4.1 million Zoom meetings.

– IU-wide 193.1 gallons of spit have been collected from students, staff and faculty. 

– 360,000 migration tests have been given on all campuses.

– 260,000 cloth masks have been given across campuses.

– 36,000 bottles of hand sanitizer have been sent out across all campuses.

– 1.6 million wipes have been made available throughout all campuses.

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