Hundreds of university students leave Madrid for the coronavirus

Hundreds of university students leave Madrid for the coronavirus

© Provided by EL PAÍS
Colegio Mayor Loyola de Madrid, this Tuesday. ALVARO GARCÍA

The students of the Loyola university college were in a game against another college, Moncloa, on Monday when they learned they were not going to have class for two weeks. Neither they nor the more than 300,000 students who study at one of the six public and eight private universities in Madrid. It is estimated that one in four of them is not from Madrid. The news was received with joy. “We were super happy, we thought we were going to stay here [en el colegio mayor], but without classes ”, several school students comment on Tuesday. The reality came a few hours later. At ten oclock at night, the director, Jose Manuel Burgueno, met them and informed them that the Loyola, where more than 200 students reside, closed since Thursday.

“With what it would have been cool to stay here,” they lament. In the university area of ​​Madrid, Loyola is the only school that has decided to close after the announcement of the Community – where the deceased amount to 21 people and those infected, to 782 – to cease educational activities in the region.

After knowing that they were left without a place to live, without a “house”, the Loyola schoolboys began to buy tickets to their respective cities with fear that transport would end or prices would skyrocket. They just bought it outward: the information they have received is that the closing will be extended for “minimum two weeks”, but they have not detailed the return date. Used to live with friends and without parents, they return to their provinces as a dramatic turn of events. “This is fatal, bad, horrible. What do I do two weeks in Pontevedra? ”Complains Miriam Perez, a student of International Relations at the Complutense. To combat boredom, Marta, Miriam and the rest of their friends are already organizing a meeting in Galicia to be able to meet these two weeks.

But Boredom is not what worries them most about their sudden march, but to take the virus to their homes, especially those living with older people. “They want to vacate University City in two days. It’s like telling an important part of Madrid to go to Spain to see their grandparents, ”continues Marta Mazaira, Miriam’s friend and Law and Ade student at Carlos III. In Madrid, cases of coronavirus have been detected at the Polytechnic University, Complutense, Comillas, Autonoma and Francisco de Vitoria.

They are also worried that the professors put the canceled exams too close together when the university returns to normal. For now, you know that the course will be extended. The rectors of the six public universities in Madrid they agreed on Tuesday afternoon that classes will last two more weeks, exams will be delayed and that the enrollment period will be extended 15 days.

The director of Loyola, busy this Tuesday morning after deciding to close, alleges that young people live in the main school to study, so if they do not have class, it makes no sense to keep it open. “There is no alternative, we have seen it clearly,” explains Burgueno. He does not appreciate a greater danger of contagion by forcing people residing in Madrid to go to other Spanish provinces. “There have been no cases here, so …”, ditch the director.

The rest of the colleges are waiting for the recommendations given by the rectors on Wednesday morning. In some, as in the Isabel of Spain or in Our Lady of Africa, the passage to people who are not collegiate or workers has already been prohibited. In all, despite having the option to stay, students go home at the request of their families. Around the Vicente Aleixandre metro stop, where several schools are located, the noise of suitcase wheels is continuous.

In the CMU Chaminade, with 286 schoolboys, the janitor points to the names of those who leave. The list is lengthening throughout the day. If it is not today, the vast majority will end up going the next few days. On the walls, all posters of the activities they had this week have been removed and have been suspended. “My mother yesterday told me to go home in case Madrid closes or if something happens to me and cannot enter. It bothers me that they don’t explain to us if it is better to stay in the main school or go to our homes ”, explains Leo Cervantes, a Chaminade schoolboy and student of Philosophy and Politics. “If they close the university, what do they want us to do?” He asks.

The director of chami, Juan Munoz, says that they have not given the schoolchildren any type of guideline on whether to leave or not, or on places to avoid these days due to crowds of people. “That has to be recommended by health authorities,” he says. In the women’s senior school Mara, however, the director Begona Perez has given some guidelines to her 200 schoolgirls. “It’s not worth going to Fallas and coming back and, if you haven’t been to a concert all year long, don’t go now. They can stay at school, but families prefer to have them at home. ”, says Perez. At the entrance of the school, every few minutes, a young woman goes out with a large suitcase.

“Can you stay, huh?” Perez says to one of them. Night departures have also been limited, outside persons have been banned and students cannot return to school if they sleep elsewhere. Perez, who has asked the Mara girls to only create the information that comes to them from the collegiate council, since Monday only shakes hands, no longer gives two kisses to anyone. Actually, Health advises not to shake hands and keep a minimum of one meter of personal distance.


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