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When COVID-19 changed the course of spring semest er,


professors and students made the best of an unprecedented situation. Through heartbreak and disappointment, these stories show Royal resilienc y.


By Gr eg Lacour


Late on the afternoon of Tursday, March 12, 2020, Daniel Lugo—less than a year after he’d become Queens’ 21st president—sent a message to students, faculty and staff unlike any in the university’s 163 years: A global pandemic was forcing the university to virtualize instruction, cancel events and practices, send all but a few employees home and, by Sunday, clear the residence halls of any student able to leave. Outside campus, the world was changing just as quickly.


Businesses sent employees home. Sports seasons were cancelled. Alarmed citizens everywhere descended on supermarkets and


cleared shelves of canned goods and toilet paper. In North Carolina, the governor declared a State of Emergency. As students packed and departed an increasingly deserted campus with no indication of when they’d be able to return, a few seniors improvised an early “commencement.” Donning caps and gowns, they stood on the steps of Hall Brown Terrace and took photos. Despite their efforts to make the best of an unprecedented situation, COVID-19 and its consequences touched students and faculty members in ways as varied and profound as the individuals. Here are some of their stories.


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