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The Virus and the Realities of Inequalities.




Class differences were not really pronounced since they all had same dorms and food; sans video chats, status discrepancies wouldn’t be outrightly distinguishable.

Caught in the cul-de-sac that necessitated a change in the routine pattern of studying, the Political Science class of Haverford College nicknamed “Forced Migration and Refugees”, embraced home learning via videoconferencing apps as classes had to soldier on.

But as each logged in, not everyone’s reality remained the same. “Now Russia is about to close its borders,” Sophie Chochaeva pointed, in the days before the country did. She was one of 135 students still on campus, in a dorm room she called “the cozy foxhole,” as the world outside became a ghost town. Coronavirus has affected economies, homes as well as the lives of many.

For decades, small liberal arts schools like Haverford prided themselves on being the “great equalizer,” offering pedigrees not just to the elites but also to the children of first-generation immigrants. Scholarships filled in for family money. Students ate the same cafeteria food in the morning and bunked in the same creaky beds at night.

No longer — at least not while the virus spreads through the country.

“It’s as though you had a front-row view on American inequality and the ways in which it was disguised and papered over,” said Anita Isaacs, the course’s professor who has taught political science at Haverford since 1988. The first gulf war, the Sept. 11 attacks, the Great Recession — she had seen them all through the eyes of her students. “There’s been nothing like this before,” she said.

Discussing the realities of Inequalities

When the class meets on Wednesdays at 1:30 on the Zoom app, the students discuss the virus and the ways it will affect the migrants they were learning about before the outbreak. But the conversation increasingly works its way to their own fate.

“Both my parents are priests,” began Hannah Stanley, who had retreated to Baltimore. “They had to close the church. Now they’re wondering, after months of quarantine how long it will take for people to come back.”

Sofia Bomse, in New Mexico, was disheartened. “I would like to think there will be a call for radical social change now, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” she said. “The gap between the superrich and everyone else will widen.”

She added: “It’s possible to believe that we can bridge inequalities by coming together on the Haverford campus, or that we can at least soften the edges — and then there is this incredible rupture. I’m very worried about what comes next for them.”

After working 4 years as a reputed journalist, Jerome wanted to explore internet-based journalism. He brought together the idea of USA Reformer to dispatch news that serves the need of readers with perfect information. He also contributes as a business news writer for the website.

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