Rio Americano Graduates Support Decisions to Close Their College Campuses over Coronavirus Concerns


Photo By Katelyn Newton

The Stanford campus as seen from one of the main entrances.

Katelyn Newton, Mirada Staff

Rio Americano graduates were among the thousands of students affected when Bay Area colleges canceled in-person classes this week to slow the spread of novel coronavirus.

Universities–including the UC Berkeley, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, Sonoma State University and Stanford–have turned to online instruction for several weeks and may extend campus closures through the end of the term.

Current Rio students  have been told that tours and events for admitted students are cancelled. And grads are quickly adjusting to the new educational reality.

Below are accounts from two members of the Rio class of 2019. We will add more responses as they come in.

Max Di Perna, Stanford
Lauren Calgano, UC Berkeley


Max Di Perna


I’m more afraid of transmitting coronavirus than getting it, and I have cancelled my visit to my grandparent’s house (which is nearby in Cupertino) because it could be fatal to them. Overall, the virus itself and the fears it brings haven’t really affected me that much, it’s really just the decisions made by the school. My dorm is also very secluded from the rest of campus, so I don’t worry much about avoiding contact with friends in my dorm. A lot of them actually went home last weekend because all classes are online. 

I have finals next week (we are on the quarter system), so this past week I’ve been studying a lot and relaxing with friends at the end of the day. Since all classes are online now, I’ve been staying inside pretty much the entire day. 

I mentioned earlier that Stanford moved all classes online, and this includes final exams. My physics final (tell Mr. Baird I said hi) has had drastic changes made to it, and my language final may or may not be entirely cancelled. All my finals are now open book, timed (with the same amount of time or less), and at-home. 

Also, not physically going to lectures makes me lose track of my work, and I am constantly reminding myself that I’m not on vacation yet, because it feels like I am. I’m not traveling back home yet because then it would feel much more like vacation than it already does. 

The abrupt change to online classes has created confusion in figuring out how to use the new software, both on my part and on the teachers’.

I think the school reacted fairly, and I heard that other nearby schools took similar action.


Lauren Calcagno

UC Berkeley

Coronavirus thankfully hasn’t affected my health yet (knock on wood), but the fear that it could create a lot more stress in my day to day life. It’s made me more conscious of taking care of myself, especially as a college freshmen living in the dorms and always being surrounded by people. 

Classes officially went online starting today, so I haven’t had much free time yet. I still have to attend lectures online or watch recordings, so I have been busy doing that today and will continue to do that this week. Even though we don’t have to actually go to class, we still have to attend class virtually or watch a recording of our professor’s lectures. So not much changes except for the fact that I can watch things anywhere and I don’t have to physically be in the class. It definitely still takes a lot of time though. I don’t want to fall behind and then have to make up a bunch of work later, so I am doing my best to stay on top of my work now and watch lectures online the same day that I would have that lecture if classes were on.

UC Berkeley has cancelled all lectures and discussions and advised that these teachers make all work online. That means that teachers can use a feature called zoom (which is like one giant facetime) where all students can join in at the time the lecture would be held and watch the professor give the lecture live from their computer. Or, some professors are just recording their lectures and then uploading them to youtube for students to go back and watch. In classes where the primary method of learning is through discussion, teachers are creating discussion boards and having people submit responses to articles or videos that we would usually read/watch in class and then talk about. Basically, teachers areadapting and putting everything online so people don’t have to be around each other.

 It affects my academics because all of my learning is through a computer now and it is up to me to watch the lectures or do the discussion posts (that I would usually just do in class) on my own time. 

For me, this is harder than actually going to class. It is also harder to focus when I am watching something on a computer which is why the situation is not ideal. However, I understand why they are doing it and I think it is cool that teachers are able to adapt and make everything online. 

Athletically, it has not affected much yet other than the fact that we are making a better effort to wipe down weights/anything we use in the training room. We still have normal practice and weight times. 

Also, in the dining halls, they have gotten rid of the self-serve stations to limit the spread of germs. Now, they have workers serving everything for you. I appreciate that because I think it will definitely prevent the spread of germs.

As inconvenient as this all is, I think the school’s action is appropriate. I know young, healthy people such as myself are less likely to be seriously harmed from coronavirus, but someone like me could have the virus and give it to an older professor and/or less healthy person and that could seriously harm that person. I really admire all of the professors’ willingness to be so adaptable and find a way to put lectures/quizzes/midterms/discussions online. 

It definitely is not ideal for anyone, but our student/faculty health should be the number one priority and I appreciate the school for recognizing that and ensuring that everyone’s health is protected.