Radford Students Making a Difference During the Pandemic of the Coronavirus

4 min read Three Radford University students are making the best of the coronavirus outbreak by supporting their communities and families while quarantined at home; however, some adjustments are required. 

COVID-19 Masks

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By: Dylan Lepore | dlepore1@radford.edu

Three Radford University students are making the best of the coronavirus outbreak by supporting their communities and families while quarantined at home; however, some adjustments are required. 

The Nurse

Suvanna Walters, a nursing student graduating this May, has taken up sewing masks for the community and selling them for $5 each. The masks take about 30 to 45 minutes to sew, and Walters has created more than 20 masks.

“I just took my last final exam at Radford today, and it was bittersweet. Three weeks ago, I had no idea my senior year would end like this,” Walters said.“The reason I started making them was because of the shortage and how unavailable they are right now,” said Walters. “The individuals who are immunocompromised, [having an impaired immune system], don’t have access to any additional protection, so I am giving masks to those who are immunocompromised for free.”

A friend of Walters that is immunocompromised, and is dreading the day she needs to go out and get groceries, asked Walters if she could buy a mask. Walters said she wouldn’t be back for two weeks; however, she would mail her the mask free of charge.

Walters even ordered food in and left a mask for the DoorDash driver.

“Very indifferent” is what Walters feels about her last term, as the Radford University Spring 2020 Commencement has moved to December. Her nursing practicum, a live application of nursing knowledge and skills in real-life situations, was canceled, as hospitals have advised against having students during this time.

“I feel let down and very indifferent about graduation being in fall,” said Walters. “We as spring 2020 graduates deserve our own ceremony, regardless of when … and we are being mixed with fall graduates and no offense to them, I think we all deserve ceremonies recognizing us for our appropriate class. I just don’t feel like we will be getting the recognition we deserve as a graduating class.”

Walters is back at Radford, where she lives with her grandparents and her dog Avery.

A Dog
Photo Credit: (Suvanna Walters) Suvanna Walters dog Avery.

“I just took my last final exam at Radford today, and it was bittersweet. Three weeks ago, I had no idea my senior year would end like this,” Walters said.

“Now that our practicum was canceled, all that is left is to prepare to take the NCLEX [National Council Licensure Examination, a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses].”

While classes are ending well for Walters, “it’s just really difficult to stay focused not being in either the hospital or classroom.”

The Full-Time Mother

In Mercer County, WV, Vawn Clappes, a Radford class of 2022 fashion design student, has been taking care of her 10-year-old son with severe asthma, working full-time at a car dealership, and renovating her house, all while continuing to take a class at Radford.

“I try to explain the situation to my son without passing on my worries to him and just try to communicate my feelings on a level that he can understand.”“I only had one [class] this semester so I could work more at the car dealership where I had been employed,” she said. “I’m not sure how things will be, considering there’s no way someone can watch my child right now.”

Due to the schools and daycares closing in Clappes’ area, she has taken on homeschooling her son.

“We do his course requirements for math and language arts,” Clappes said. “As for his gym class, we have been going for walks and playing outside when the weather is nice. … For Music, we signed up for guitar lessons on fender.com. I’m also trying to get him to practice handwriting and reading, so he’s not entirely on YouTube or video games all day.”

Clappes is starting to get a routine, which is helping her relax, but she is fearful whenever she has to go out into public. She’s having as much as possible shipped or delivered, and she disinfects everything before bringing it into the house.

“If I dwell on the severity of the situation, my anxiety spikes, but the more I keep busy and distracted, the better I feel,” Clappes said. “I try to explain the situation to my son without passing on my worries to him and just try to communicate my feelings on a level that he can understand.”

Her son is enjoying sleeping in more and playing with their cat and dog.

The Student Worker

“Some of the remote opportunities include managing some of the social media for Radford Intramurals, trying to keep students engaged.”Emily Clemente, a sophomore student majoring in pre-social work and minoring in crime analysis, has been taking advantage of remote employment opportunities to continue to foster a community at Radford, even if it’s from a distance.

Clemente has been working at the Radford University Recreation and Wellness Center, the Intramural Sports department, and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning.

“Some of the remote opportunities include managing some of the social media for Radford Intramurals — posting questions and running contests — trying to keep students engaged,” said Clemente. “I also will be working for the center for [Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning] by making Word documents and PowerPoint Presentations accessible so that a screen reader will read them correctly.”

Online classes have also frustrated Clemente, but she said her professors have been setting up reasonable procedures to make everything a bit easier.

“They know everyone is trying to manage this situation the best they know how,” Clemente said. “If we have a class at a certain time, they understand it’s not always possible for a student to be on during that exact time, so they’ve recorded lectures to be available at a later time so student[s] won’t miss the information. Which has been amazing.”

These are not the only students in Radford making a difference. Feel free to share your story or an act of kindness you experienced during this quarantine to The Tartan at tartan@radford.edu.

Photo Credit: (Suvanna Walters)