Mercer students adapt as coronavirus impacts classes, graduation

Mercer University senior, Rylee Kirk, had her life all figured out in Macon. She would wake up in her dorm room, go to class or the library and graduate in May. Covid-19 abruptly changed her plans.

“It went from after May life is a giant question mark to every single day of my life is now a giant question mark,” Kirk said.

The university has not made an official announcement yet concerning whether or not graduation will be canceled or postponed.

In a message on the website March 27, Mercer University President William Underwood said, “We will have traditional commencement ceremonies to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our graduates, though whether we will be able to proceed as scheduled remains uncertain. We do not want to make this decision prematurely.”

When Underwood gave students the option to stay on campus or return home to resume classes online, Kirk was initially going to stay on campus because both of her parents are in the high risk category. Her father, John Kirk, is 65 years old and her mother, Penelope Kirk, has lupus. They urged her to return home to Effingham County.

“You don’t know what the next step is so her being almost three hours away, if it does evolve to a lockdown like Italy or other places then we definitely want her close,” Penelope said.

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