Two Peas in a Podcast

Being a senior in college I never thought the last time I would walk on campus would be right before spring break. I left my final class Thursday expecting to be back to the basics in a week. My roommate and I hosted a show two days a week on Rebel Radio. It was unfortunate when we got the news that school was closed for the remainder of the semester.

My senior year cut short. Everything just came to a halt. Almost everything. For some companies, Covid-19 was a blessing in disguise. Apps like Tik Tok that have been around for years are now being widely used by many people. With nothing else to do but sit in side the house, people all over have been joining the Tiki’s Tok train.

Tik Tok is a place where food lovers, gym rats, and dancing queens can learn and share their own videos. Chelsea and I share our thoughts about going through this crazy time and what we think about Tik Tok.

Norway’s Got It Figured Out: Why the U.S. Should Take Notes

While Norway’s retail and cosmetic businesses are beginning to reopen, Oxford, Mississippi’s remain closed.

Photo by Meghan Stout

While deep in the mountains and hours away from the closest town, 26-year-old Stine Samland was given just a few hours to pack and get back home to Bergen. What was supposed to be a fun and relaxing ski trip with friends turned into a panic and rush to get home after news of a mandatory lockdown hit Norway.

Rumors of the global COVID-19 pandemic had been circulating a few days prior to the lockdown, but on Wednesday, March 11 at 12 p.m. the entire country shut down. Businesses were given a notice of just four hours to completely shut down and the entire population was confined to the inside of their homes by noon, making Norway one of the first countries to respond to the pandemic in a serious manner.

Schools, shops, bars, restaurants, and other public services closed almost immediately after the first reported case, leaving only supermarkets and pharmacies open.

After being together in such a large group, Samland and her friends decided to self-quarantine for two weeks in order to ensure that if any of them were sick, no one else would be exposed.

“I self-isolated for two weeks completely alone in my house,” Samland said. “The only time I saw anyone was when my mom came and dropped groceries off at my front door. She even took my dog, so it was the longest two weeks of my life.”

Luckily, neither Samland nor her friends ever got sick, so after two weeks of isolation, they were able to practice social distancing, a much better alternative.

The outbreak in Norway is speculated to have come from people who were infected while abroad, causing the Norwegian government to take drastic steps, introducing some of the strictest emergency measures seen in decades, including closing the borders to non-citizens and non-residents. Even domestic travel within the country is discouraged.

These strict regulations fall under the Control of Infectious Diseases Act and anyone caught breaking quarantine can face a hefty fine. According to Samland, fines as high as $1500 U.S. dollars have been given to people breaking the rules, but most people have been cooperative in following the rules.

“I think what we’ve done which is really good is that people go above and beyond the regulations,” Samland said.

Norway’s lockdown lasted from March 11 to April 27, according to Samland, but businesses adapted quickly. Retail stores began opening online shops, groceries were delivered, and most people were able to work from home.

Like the United States, Norway’s government has issued a variety of helpful benefits to its citizens. Mortgages and student loans are being deferred and interest rates are not currently accruing. Those unable to work have been put on furlough. Rather than get a one-time stimulus check or file for unemployment like many in the United States, Samland said, Norwegians who are put on furlough are getting a much better deal.

“Once [people] get put on furlough, they have a month of full pay from the government and then it’s 65 percent of their salary in the following months,” Samland said. “More people are getting furloughed rather than fired.”

While the United States’ unemployment benefits average around $830 each week, Norway’s furlough benefits match each individual’s annual salary from the previous year for the first month, while the remaining months are 65 percent of their annual salary.

With a career in Marketing, Samland is able to work from home, which, along with her online classes, has kept her busy. With her job consisting of the majority of work done online anyway, she hasn’t had any trouble adjusting to being at home full time.

“Most of the marketing I do is already online and I was already doing my degree entirely online before this all started, so the only big difference for me is that I’ll be taking my final exams at home rather than at the exam hall,” Samland said.

Most of Norway’s strict regulations are now being relaxed and it seems as though these restrictive emergency measures worked. According to Worldometer, Norway has had a total of 7,783 cases and 210 deaths while the United States has had a total of 1,131,015 cases and 65,748 deaths. As of April 30, there were less than 100 people hospitalized in the entire country of Norway.

While Norwegian kindergartens and elementary schools have reopened, U.S. schools remain closed for the remainder of the year. Businesses, including hair salons, have also been permitted to reopen as long as capacity remains under 50 percent. In the United States, hair salons are not considered essential businesses and remain closed, but in Norway, there is no distinction between essential and non-essential businesses.

Although things are looking good for this Nordic country, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg does not see Norway returning to its pre-pandemic ways for quite some time and warns citizens not to get too relaxed.

“We must all still adhere to infection control rules and the recommendations given by the health authority. If we are careless, it could have serious consequences for others. In the worst case, we must tighten the measures again. We must work hard to avoid this, and we must do that together,” Solberg said in a recent press conference.

Solberg is also encouraging all Norwegians with smart phones to download the Smittestopp app, designed to help track and control the spread of the virus. The app tracks users’ locations and can be used to alert users when they have been close to someone who has been tested positive for the virus.

“If someone you’ve been around has tested positive for Corona, the app will send you a text letting you know and you’re supposed to self-quarantine and go get tested yourself,” Samland said.

Norway’s strict rules and regulations are being updated every two weeks in order to see the affects, both positive and negative, on society. At the end of every two weeks, they are able to see what worked and what didn’t and make changes accordingly.

“I’m quite proud of the way we’ve handled this situation,” Samland said. “The way that we dealt with it was so quick and so reactive, so I’m hoping that it’s going to turn out to be the right way.”

How this local market adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic

A display of various products available at Chicory Market. Credit: Chelsea Brock

by Nigel Dent

OXFORD, Miss. — Since the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed daily life, a typical morning at Chicory Market looks like this: co-owner Kate Bishop or her husband John Martin prints out online orders to prepare for curbside pickup. As workers trickle in between 7 and 8 a.m., personal shoppers fulfill orders as phones start to ring at 8:30. By 10:30, workers are set up in the parking lot to accept walk-up customers. No customers are allowed inside. Between sanitizing the inside of the store twice an hour, stocking, taking deliveries and coordinating with farms and distributors, business bustles until final pick-ups at 6 p.m., after which they deep clean and prepare for the next day.

Supermarket worker deaths from COVID-19 are rising — at least 41, as reported in The Washington Post. According to CNN on April 19, experts recommend that grocery stores ban customers from the inside. Many larger businesses still have not done so. But some smaller, local markets, like Chicory Market, instituted strict curbside pickup as far back as late March.

“It just became clear as the situation evolved,” Bishop said, “that we didn’t feel comfortable opening our doors at all to the public — that we would feel safer, that the staff would be safer and that our customers would be safer if we just limited the transaction to the parking lot.” 

Employee Richard Wright operating the curbside pickup stand. Credit: Chelsea Brock

As customers cleared out necessary items everywhere when public panic first spiked, Chicory Market experienced similar shortages in tissue, eggs, beef, milk and flour, which eventually leveled off. But being a local market presented a unique advantage to the business. Because their products are mostly fresh and sourced from the surrounding area, they aren’t hindered by extensive supply chains that could have been disrupted due to the virus.

“The benefit of that is that we’re supporting the local economy,” Bishop said, “or supporting our neighbors who are growing and making food… The money stays in the community….” 

Chicory Market employees have undergone an interesting change as well. Everyone has taken on a partial-janitorial position, with someone going around every 30 minutes to wipe down handles, cash registers and other surfaces. There is also a tracking log to stay on top of tasks, among wearing masks made by Bishop’s mother and frequently changing gloves. 

A gloved hand in the hand soap section. Credit: Chelsea Brock

Workers had the option to temporarily quit too if they feared working during the pandemic because of underlying conditions or wanting to protect their families.

“We’ve been really supportive of them,” Bishop said, “so we’ve taken them off the schedule but guaranteed them their jobs when this is all over and they feel comfortable coming back to work.” 

Because of the loss of employees, Bishop sought out to hire more people to handle the stress of increased business, finding several former restaurant workers who were laid off in the Oxford area, such as 22-year-old Juliet Aguerre-Mateo, who was laid off from Saint Leo in March. 

“When I found out that we had to go for unemployment,” Aguerre-Mateo said, “I was freaking out… No one really had any answers, and I think that’s the scariest part of it all.” Due to her being a server, she said, the state provided her little unemployment payment.

Fortunately, she was able to make a quick turn around with applying and securing a job at Chicory Market. Aguerre-Mateo said that Oxford’s small community is the best part about it because a good reputation follows good workers, which can be beneficial when looking for another job, especially at this time. 

“And I know some people just kind of went in and applied,” Aguerre-Mateo said, “and they’re just so kind there that they want to help everybody… It just worked out in everyone’s favor.” They even have a running joke among the staff that Chicory Market has become a ‘restaurant refugee group.’

Chelsea Brock, 28, held three jobs at Oxford Canteen, The Tarasque and Soulshine Pizza Factory before being furloughed. Technically, she had applied at Chicory Market before being laid off, looking for another job to fill her mornings. Serendipitously, she said, she earned the position just as she needed it.

“Finding another way to fill my time once my regular jobs had temporarily closed or downsized was nothing short of a blessing,” Brock said in an email. “Not working wasn’t an option considering the bills I have to pay every month.”

Bishop also worried about being overwhelmed by online orders. A disadvantage of a smaller and fresh supply chain is limited stock, certain items being easily bought out within hours. However, customers have not only grown but they have also been very supportive during the transition, she said.

Angela Atkins is a Chicory Market customer who has been grateful for access to the market during the pandemic. Atkins, the Digital Giving Officer of the University Development Office at Ole Miss, has been a customer of Chicory Market since before Bishop and Martin bought and renamed it in 2017. She continues to trust them, especially as COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred at processing plants across the country. According to the CDC, 4900 employees at meat processing plants tested positive for the virus. 

“[Local sourcing] allows you to bypass some of the national problems,” Atkins said. “…I also feel like that’s a little bit safer, you know? I don’t feel like my food is passed through so many different people.”

Samuel Lisi, an assistant professor of math at Ole Miss, also appreciates how the size of the market lends to its ability to sufficiently socially distance. 

“One of the things they do right is that they are small,” Lisi said. “That means that I feel confident that their staff is paying attention to social distancing correctly… I imagine a larger operation as more opportunities for making mistakes.” 

The pandemic has given Bishop mixed feelings about the future. She’s anxious about her health and the health of the community, she said. But she’s also excited to form relationships with the new customers who started to frequent the market. She would like to continue curbside pickup even after it is safe to physically shop inside again, noting the convenience it provides people, especially those with limiting health conditions.

The curbside pickup stand with a sign displaying directions for placing orders and forming a line. Credit: Chelsea Brock

The gratitude from her customers keeps her grounded, she said, and being able to continue to support farmers and provide healthy food for the public is rewarding and inspires hope. 

“And I don’t know how long we will operate this way,” Bishop said. “I mean, nobody knows, right? But we’re committed to doing it and to figuring it out and to making changes as we need to so that everyone can stay safe.”

Shutdowns have pushed many students to the brink of bankruptcy. How is the university helping?

As the graduate director of Southern Studies, Dr. Jessie Wilkerson is used to helping students, but she knew the way students were helped would change when the pandemic sent students away from campus and closed many sources of income for them.

Now, though graduate students will not lose their stipends because of the shutdowns, many still find it hard to make ends meet because they lost other jobs.

“These are students who support themselves and some of them support their family members as well,” Wilkerson said. “What I would describe is just layers of fear and uncertainty. And what we’re witnessing is the pandemic and the concerns around that and then the economic collapse on top of it at a rate that we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. I mean, most of us, with the exception of, you know, some of our grandparents, have never experienced something like this in our own lifetimes.”

In early April, the university held a fundraiser to provide financial relief for students, which raised $186,372 through 915 donations. The university also secured $8.32 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act, which can be used for food, housing, course materials, technology-related expenses, health care, childcare and travel.

Students can use this application to be considered for relief.

When asked whether students had begun receiving the money that had been collected through the fundraiser, a university spokesperson declined to comment.

“The university is committed to assisting all of our students and especially those in need of emergency financial support right now in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” they said in a statement.

It isn’t just graduate students that are feeling the financial pressure, either.

Kate Forster, the director of advocacy for UMatter, a university program to connect all students to resources available to them, said that many students — graduate and undergraduate alike — who have talked to her feel like “the bottom fell out from under them financially.”

“Our work has shifted towards being kind of the initial point of contact for students that are facing financial uncertainty or financial challenges right now,” Forster said.

The UMatter office does much more than provide students financial resources. It also connects students with mental health care, Title IX services, academic accommodations, and other help during a time of crisis. Forster, who has a graduate degree in social work, said she tries to meet students where they are and connect them to resources they need from there.

How is COVID-19 affecting the violence prevention office? Listen to a conversation with Shelli Poole, the confidential advocate at the office, to hear the impacts of the pandemic on survivors and the university.

One student who spoke with her, for instance, had a laptop that broke just as online classes were getting started. Without the job she usually relied on, she had to continue her classes on her phone. When she could not do all of her coursework on her phone because of software compatibility problems, she called UMatter to find a solution. Together, Forster and the student worked together to find an affordable laptop that was eventually bought with relief money from the university.

Another student to whom Forster recently spoke had just lost a family member to COVID-19. She is focusing on 

“It’s not different than the work we normally do,” Forster said of the caseload post-pandemic. “It’s just very concentrated right now, and it all has to do with, for the most part, COVID-19”

Now, as students begin testing positive, Forster and her colleagues are working to provide each of them with the resources available to them for their unique situations.

UMatter is also the office that advises the Ole Miss Food Bank, a student-led initiative to prevent food insecurity on campus. Forster said that while students are away, she has been helping keep the food bank running.

“We’ve seen numbers up there just go through the roof in terms of utilization,” she said.

The food bank has been providing bags with food for individuals to take with limited contact to other people to reduce the risk of infection.

Forster said that she wants students to still know that the university is there for them through the pandemic.

“We hear you; we support you; we’re not forgetting about you. Even though we can’t see each other, you know, my goal all along is to continue to be in touch with students and be as responsive and as accessible as possible to students, because they’ve got to know that we’re still here for them, and that we’ll continue to support them through this.”

Wilkerson, though, said the university is to blame, at least in part, for the problems students are now facing. Because graduate students were never paid enough in the first place, she said, they are finding the pandemic even more stressful.

“The problem is their stipends are pretty low. And actually more than pretty low. They’re criminally low.”

Many graduate students receive a stipend around $11,000 for their work. Seth Smith, a graduate instructor in the English Department, makes $11,500 for his work. He uses half of it for rent, and stretches the other half as far as he can to survive. Still, he uses food stamps to subsidize his low income.

“I am a graduate instructor at the University of Mississippi, and I live on the brink of poverty,” he said in an essay published earlier this year. “Enough is enough. Pay us for our visible and invisible labor, which is vital to the function of this university.”

“Quarantine 15”

The popular phrase “Quarantine 15” has been trending since COVID-19 has made maintaining healthy habits more complicated for some.

According to Psychology Today’s article, “What is “Quarantine 15?” stress from COVID-19 has a powerful effect on people’s appetite, which is leading to people calling the 15-pound weight gain the “quarantine 15.”

Sally Rychlak, an Oxford Pure Bar instructor and health enthusiast, believes it’s a combination of stress and a lack of routine that is leading people to break good habits.

Sally Rychlack at Oxfords Pure Bar Studio

“There is so much uncertainty in our jobs, our future, our families, and therefore that affects our everyday activity,” Rychlak said. “The best thing to do is accept that every day may be different as it applies to family time, work, chores, exercise, diet, but it is important to find that balance and continue to prioritize health and wellness.”

Rychlak is aware of the phrase quarantine 15 but hopes that people will take the initiative towards their health before gaining the full fifteen pounds.

“The main thing is – be mindful of what you have in the house,” said Rychlak. “…Now more than ever, we are bound to our homes and what is in our pantry or fridge. Make a point to buy lots of fruits, vegetables, fish and etcetera. You can freeze produce and use it later on if perishability is a concern.”

Rychlak said it’s important not to get caught up in the cycle of buying cookies or whatever your vice may be. She said that if she has a box of cookies at her house, she will most likely eat all of them, but the key is not to repurchase them.

As a Pure Bar instructor, Rychlak also values keeping up with your physical health through working out.

“Just getting up and moving every hour or so can be so beneficial for both physical and cognitive health,” said Rychlak.

Since quarantine, Rychlak has taught virtual Pure Bar classes but understands that it is different than real-life courses.

“People like taking workout classes because they are motivated by the energy of the room, the instructor’s presence, and the community feeling that the environment provides,” said Rychlak. “… We have clients that take our virtual classes, but energy is definitely a lot different, and I am unable to do hands-on corrections with clients. The owner of my studio has done a great job working with our clients and asking for feedback, so we are adapting as much as we can during this time.”

Sally Rychlak on Pure Bars instagram live while teaching a virtual class.

The temporary closing of gyms and fitness studios such as Pure Bar has been challenging for some people such as Bryce Echols, a soon to be Ole Miss graduate, who views gyms as a place of motivation.

“Without access to the equipment I used in the past, I have not been working out as much as I did before the coronavirus,” said Echols. “I used to go to the gym every day and lift weights and do a little bit of cardio. Now I mainly do cardio and bodyweight exercises. I have even tried to use tables and chairs as weights.”

Echols said that he has even slightly injured his shoulder while trying to work out while in quarantine. He said he misses the gyms equipment since it is safer and more convenient to use.

Other Ole Miss students seem to agree with Echols, such as Lauren Perry, a junior art major.

“I think it’s much harder to work out during quarantine because I lack the motivation just to get up and do an at-home workout,” said Perry. “I love going to the gym and workout classes, so not having that has definitely affected my workout schedule.”

Perry also commented on how quarantine has affected her eating habits as well.

“it’s difficult to keep motivated when we don’t know when things will go back to normal,” said Perry. “Trying to create a new and completely different routine is pretty difficult and takes adjusting.”

Perry said that “quarantine 15” is very accurate and relatable; people are consuming a lot more food without exercising due to stress and boredom.

When the quarantine ends, Perry believes there will be a spike in diet and exercise plans. People are going to want to get back in shape, but she doesn’t know if it will be very effective.

“I think it might be similar to new year’s resolutions in a way that people are so excited to get fit at first, then quickly get burnt out,” said Perry. “But I also think that if people are noticing changes they don’t necessarily want, now would be the ideal time to make changes in their diets.”

Madison Collum, a junior who is majoring in Dietetics and Nutrition at Ole Miss, said it’s essential to have self-discipline with your self during quarantine and to be mindful of “bored eating” since snacking is one of the biggest causes of weight gain.

Madison Collum after enjoying a workout

“It is important to maintain healthy eating habits because creating bad ones during this quarantine could potentially become harmful health habits after quarantine ends,” said Collum. “It is important to fuel our bodies with nutritious foods to keep our bodies healthy and immune system strong.”

Pure Bar instructor and health enthusiast Sally Rychlack said she believes everyone can fix their habits while in quarantine.

“You can still workout from home,” said Rychlak. “If you are in an area with little pedestrian traffic, getting out for a walk or run is a great way to get a workout as well as get some fresh air. We are so fortunate that this time of social distancing is a time of year when we have warm weather, and the sun stays out longer.”

The Ole Miss Student Who Contracted Coronavirus Abroad

When Ole Miss Junior, Kara Tate, packed her bags and left for a semester abroad in Italy, the last thing she expected to come home with was Coronavirus. 

Tate’s local newspaper reporting on the virus. Photo Courtesy : Kara Tate

“I flew in to Knoxville on a Wednesday, and when I got home that night I was burning up and had developed a dry cough. By the next morning, I had chills/body aches so we took my temperature the next morning and it was 102,” Tate said. 

Tate took the appropriate measures to social distance after seeing what her temperature was. 

“I self-quarantined immediately because I was showing symptoms. I’m really glad that I played it safe and didn’t go out in public because when I got back my positive results I knew that I did my best to not expose it to anyone,” Tate said.

Getting a test for the virus was easier said than done. 

“When I started showing symptoms there weren’t nearly as many tests available in the US as there are now. We called the Health Department who recommended that I go get tested at an urgent care for the flu and strep,” Tate said. “When both of those came back negative, we called the health department back and it took four different phone calls with health officials to get me approved for testing.” 

Although Tate arrived home from Italy, the process for getting a test done was not quick. 

“My family thought it was kind of odd that they were so apprehensive about testing me considering that I had just came from Italy and was showing nearly every symptom. The test itself took almost no time at all,” Tate said. “I was in and out in less than ten minutes. I was also the first person in my county to be tested and I could tell the nurses were nervous. I got tested on a Friday, and they had to send my tests to Nashville to get results. I got the call on Sunday that I had tested positive.”

The news of testing positive was surreal for Tate.

“I had convinced myself that I didn’t have Coronavirus, so when I got the results I was kind of shocked. I was really worried about other people knowing that I had it because of how they might react,” Tate said. “I spent awhile trying to figure out how to tell people or if I even should. I  just knew the panic it would cause.”

Along with struggling on how to tell people, Tate was sad about the two week isolation period. 

“I was also pretty upset because I had to completely self-isolate for 14 days, and I felt bad that my parents, my brother, and his fiancé all had to self quarantine due to me testing positive. I  hated feeling like I  had interfered with other lives,” Tate said. “I had midterms the first week of my quarantine, so it made the time pass quicker.” 

Once those two weeks of self isolation were finally over, Tate was cleared by the Health Department on Wednesday, March 25th. 

Photo Courtesy : Kara Tate

“I am really grateful that I had  a mild experience with it,” Tate said. “I feel like since I’ve had it I’ve been able to give some of my friends and family peace because they now know someone who has survived it, but I never want that to underscore the fact that it is taking countless lives, making it so important for people to stay home and flatten the curve.” 

Even though her time in Italy was cut short, Tate is receiving some class credit from her time spent abroad. 

Photo Courtesy : Kara Tate

“I’m getting class credit, but since I had extra hours I chose to take fun courses that don’t benefit my major. I’m enrolled in a wine class, Mediterranean cooking class, and a walking tours of Florence class, all of which I have to do online now,” Tate said.

Tate wishes she could be with her friends soaking up the sun in Oxford. 

“Oxford is stunning in the springtime and I’d give just about anything to be there with my friends right now. We’d be spending warm days at Sardis and I hate that everyone has to miss it,” Tate said.

Tate plans on making her upcoming senior year memorable. 

“I definitely will not being taking anything for granted next year. I  am heartbroken for my friends who had their last months of their senior year taken from them. I think it’s going to be a really different feeling next year when we’re all together, just being really thankful that we actually can be together and experience our “last’ everything.”

Photo Courtesy : Kara Tate

College Football Saturdays in September? Some School Officials Say Slow Down

Jake Davis

The 2020-21 NCAA football season is set to kick off on Aug. 29 with a seven-game slate. This starting date is now in question thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay-at-home orders designed to combat it.

The key to a timely start to the season is practice time over the summer. The NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee suggested this week that student-athletes must be able to practice for six weeks before the start of their season. This means schools would need athletes to report to their teams by late July. 

University of Mississippi Athletics Director Keith Carter went even further, saying that he doubts the season will start on time if student-athletes are not on campus by July 1. 

“We’re talking on our campus about a way to get our student-athletes back on campus for the summer. That’s important for us because we want to get the fall started on time and that’s our goal. We have to get our students back and get them in shape. If we get too far past then, it’s going to be hard maybe to start on time,” Carter said.

Some of the biggest challenges in finding a way back to normalcy are the lack of communication between states and the different approaches taken to combat the virus. 

“It’s going to be an interesting situation because, in the SEC, there are 11 states that are represented. We’re trying to find a uniform way for all these states and institutions to come back and bring these student-athletes back and get them ready for the fall,” Carter said. “With each state having a different timeline, finding a uniform way to do that may be difficult, but certainly, everyone is on the same page trying to get that done.”

Carter is confident that despite these challenges, football will resume as planned in the fall.

“I just feel like there’s some momentum. Will we be playing football Labor Day weekend? I can’t say that yet but that’s our hope and that’s what we’re going to continue to push for,” Carter said.

Other schools are not as confident in a speedy return.

University of Connecticut president Tom Katsouleas told UConn journalism students “the current thinking is that fall sports will be cancelled — with the exception of those that can be played at a safe distance.”

Dr. Robert Robbins, president of the University of Arizona, says he doubts his Wildcats football team will be on the gridiron in September. 

“I’m really concerned about whether we’re going to play football in the fall,” Robbins told KVOI-AM in Tucson, Arizona. “My sense, right now, I just don’t see that happening.”

Robbins also floated a strange idea for playing football and basketball at the same time.

“What I’ve been hearing more of is that maybe doing something combining both basketball and football for the spring, so January-February 2021, and try to play both of them,” said Robbins. “There will be all kinds of implications for television and viewing and confusion. I don’t know. We just don’t have any answers right now.”

That sentiment was echoed by university leaders across the country, who continue to search for answers.

Associate athletics director at the University of Oregon Jimmy Stanton said, “at this point, we don’t know the answers regarding specific impacts.”

Jeff Kallin, an associate athletics director at Clemson University in South Carolina, said “athletics departments will not set the parameters for a safe return. We will support any process that our federal, state or local officials suggest.” 

Kallin also went on to say that the school “does not have a timetable for a return at this time.”

He says the school is focused on ensuring classes start on time, with athletics being a secondary priority. 

“We are planning for a variety of outcomes, but the most important thing is classes starting back.” 

The prevailing theme among athletics departments appears to be confusion. Nobody knows for sure what will happen in the fall or even what will happen in May or June. 

“We’re just trying to think about all the scenarios and trying to get students back.” Carter said. “We’re going to get them back eventually, we just have to make sure we’re doing it the right way. I know our students are ready to get back and our coaches are ready.”


Akim Powell

May 1, 2020

Cov-19 Affecting African American Women Beauty Regimen

Every two weeks, she would drive two hours to get her eyelashes and eyebrows in Jackson. Now, she’s teaching herself how to do her eyelashes and eyebrows by watching Youtube videos due to the outbreak of COV-19.

  Reagan Kelly, Ole Miss graduate student is one of many African American women who know all too well the effects of hair, nails, and eyebrow salons temporarily closing due to the pandemic. Many African American women, including small business owners, have found new ways to adjust to the new normal.

“I would get my eyelashes and eyebrows done every two weeks in Jackson,” says Kelly. “And I made a vow to myself that I would never leave the house without lashes. It just made me feel good.”

Kelly says that while she doesn’t like to drive two hours for a lash appointment, self-care is something that she took pride in. Now, three weeks into the stay-at-home order, she has found a new love for her naturalness. 

“This pandemic has shown me that I don’t need all the stuff and my natural beauty is beautiful without lashes or my eyebrows done,” says Kelly. “I’ve started rocking my natural hair and it feels great because for the longest time ever I didn’t feel like dealing with it. And I think it’s beautiful that I see everyone else on social media is natural and authentic.”

Someone that would understand Kelly’s struggle is Peyton Stubbs, a USM senior journalism student. 

“I literally can’t wait to get my hair done,” says Stubbs. “Maintaining natural hair is so hard. I think this pandemic is teaching us that minimalism is okay. We don’t always need to have our lashes and hair done.”

Stubbs says that we’ve been conditioned to believe that we need those things to be pretty. 

“I appreciate the beauty in the eye of the storm that we’re in. I’m able to embrace all of me,” says Stubbs. “Especially the parts that I’ve not been in tune with. I’ve always worn protective styles. It feels good to be in tune with myself, all aspects of myself.  Even little things like polishing my toes and shaved the peach fuzz under my nose.” 

Although some may think hair is merely a physical identifier, hair and the black identity mean so much more. It could mean finally transitioning your chemically relaxed or permed hair, which is a treatment to make your curly hair permanently straight, to natural. 

Surprisingly, Tatyana Johnson, CEO of LifeLine Hair has seen a spike in hair orders, specifically wigs due to C0V-19. 

Picture of a hair salon closed due to COV-19 in Gulfport, MS. Photo credit: Akim Powell

“I sell hair on hand which means I deliver the hair to them and I’ve made $400 in a day,” says Johnson. “More people have more money to spare. I also have been giving a lot of girls bundle deals so they don’t have a choice than to buy,” says Johnson. 

Johnson says that even though girls are buying hair, she’s still missing out on profit because a lot of girls are scared to go to salons or they don’t find the benefits of buying hair at the moment. 

Like Alexus Baldwin, a senior Hampton University student says that she developed a skill that she probably wouldn’t have mastered if she wasn’t quarantined. 

“I learned how to braid,” says Baldwin. “I just watched youtube videos and began doing it. I honestly think that before the pandemic that I wouldn’t have learned how to do this, I would’ve just gotten somebody to do it for me.”

Baldwin says that while she can go to somebody’s house to do it, she’d rather not risk herself getting infected. 

“I feel as though a lot of us are natural but just because we are natural, not a lot of us know how to do our hair,” says Baldwin. “We typically all go to a stylist, get braids, or wear a wig.”

While others are affected tremendously by the pandemic, others not so much. Lauren Conley, senior Ole Miss journalism student, who says that while she misses getting her pedicures and eyebrows done, her hair routine hasn’t changed.

“I have been natural for almost two years, “ says Conley. “But this time under quarantine has motivated me to try different styles with my hair. I learned how to do more protective styles like braids and twists.”

Conley says that she also makes time for spa days but it isn’t the same spa vibe that she’s used to. She says she’s excited for the state to reopen so she can show her newfound styles.

“This time of quarantine has taught me to go with the flow,” says Conley. “It’s nice not having the standards of beauty imposed on you. I feel free to try out different styles in my home. Whether they work or they fail, I won’t be judged.”

Going Off Book

How COVID-19 has affected the fine arts at Ole Miss.

By: Ellie Greenberger & Corinne Taylor

Friday, May 1, 2020 marks 56 days since students at the University of Mississippi have taken classes in person.

For students in all areas of education, but especially for those in the fine arts, adjusting to at-home-study has many different implications.

Seniors, whose last semesters often include working on final projects, campaigns and theses, had to modify their last semester in order to safely continue to progress to get their degree.

“Since many senior showcases and auditions have been cancelled,” Virginia Brown, a senior majoring in theatre arts, said, “national platforms like Playbill and BroadwayWorld have invited theatre college students to submit videos of their songs or monologues to be appreciated and maybe considered for a career in the future.”

Many programs such as the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College have changed thesis defenses to occur over zoom. For theatre and art programs at the University of Mississippi that rely on interaction and visuals heavily, students find themselves having to adapt. The art department has posted some senior theses on

“My only performance theatre class this semester is my Musical Theatre studio class, where we have a weekly voice meeting and meet on Fridays to sing for the class,” Brown said. “It has definitely been affected because I’m having to do my voice classes and Friday class via Zoom, so instead of singing to live accompaniment, we sing to a track. Which works great, but I miss being able to work on certain things during my individual voice lessons.”

Brown also spoke about her concerns regarding future opportunities as many internships and summer jobs have been cancelled.

BFA in graphic design student Ashley Biggs is yet another example of a student whose last months of college were drastically changed.

Students in the Ole Miss Art Department apply to the BFA program during their junior year. Once they are accepted, the rest of their time in school is dedicated to honing their craft and preparing a thesis show to be presented and defended to faculty members of the art department.

These thesis shows have catapulted students into full-time careers and brands so there is a lot of opportunity that comes with the pressure and the work put in.

Biggs was originally set to have her show from April 6 – 10, back before COVID-19 changed everyone’s plans.

Biggs, like all graduating BFA students, was hit with the news that her thesis show would not be shown in person. Biggs said it was hard because the shows are so different for each artist, so her and her fellow classmates couldn’t work together to find solutions that fit their project.

Luckily the faculty in the art department took the time to work with every BFA student to make sure their work could be shown and defended in the best way possible with the cards dealt.

Biggs said she has really leaned on her mentors and teachers during this unprecedented time, and she credits the ultimate success in her online show to the support she has received. She said it is a bittersweet feeling for her to see her hard work come to fruition even though it’s not in the way she originally intended.

 While seniors struggle with a conclusion to their college careers that they didn’t expect, the pandemic has also affected all students. For all art students, the logistics of schooling in the future are still up in the air.

“The way the BFA major works is that you’re working on your thesis for the entire year plus from when you are accepted into the program,” Maggie Bollinger, a junior BFA graphic design student said. “To plan an art show, it is important to know if you’re planning a live, interactive show or one that will be utilized only online because those are two very different things.”

Not only will the way students show their art probably change, professional art shows are likely to be altered as well.

“It kind of makes you think about the future for career stuff and whatnot,” Bollinger said. “Not only am I planning for a possibly new type of thesis but also now thinking beyond college and what it will look like to have a career in the art and design industries.”

For theatre majors, many students gain experience from being a part of different shows.

“I think the most difficult aspect of this was two of our shows being canceled,” Catherine Long, a junior pursuing a BFA Acting for Stage and Screen said.

“The Nether” was scheduled for March 27 – 29, March 31 and April 4 – 5. “A New Brain” was scheduled for April 17 – 19. According to Long, there is talk of doing “A New Brain” in the Spring of 2021, but nothing has officially been announced.

“The first show, “The Nether”, directed by Dr. Justice-Malloy, has been in the works for quite some time,” Long said. “Dr. Malloy has been trying to do this show for almost four years now, just for it to get canceled.”

While the day to day experiences that the virus has altered are important, it is imperative to remember that these decisions to conduct school online are made with people’s health in mind.

According to a message from Provost Wilkin, Dr. Justice-Malloy’s husband, also a faculty member at the university, passed away from COVID-19. She too has tested positive.

Long went on to explain the issues with online learning in theater classes.

“I think the main difference is that so much of our work got cut out of the class,” Long said. “For example, group scenes or numbers.”

While COVID-19 has affected every person on an individual level, people wonder about how it will affect the future on a larger scale. Broadway is still closed though they have been sharing performances online.

“Rumors have been floating around that theatres will only be allowed to fill up half the house which will then make tickets even more expensive than before,” Long said. “However, I know our student run theatre, Ghostlight Repertory, has talked about some of our shows becoming free to audiences because of the lack of art around them at this time, but only time can tell.”

To view all of the graduating BFA students’ thesis shows visit:

Ashley Biggs beaming in front of Meek Hall (home of the Ole Miss Art Department). Photo courtesy of GRID Ole Miss via Instagram.
Maggie Bollinger moments after being accepted into the BFA program. Photo courtesy of Maggie Bollinger.

Ole Miss Theatre and Film list of shows for the 2019-2020 season. Courtesy of Ole Miss Theatre and Film via Facebook. 

Virginia Brown (Ginnie) played Meg in Ole Miss’s production of Little Women this past fall. She is joined in the photo with Lydia Meyers, Gabriela Sofia, Elizabeth Burrow and Cali Michell.  Photo courtesy of Ginnie Brown via Facebook. 

Catherine Long in Boeing Boeing with Jacob Heuer. Photo by Yi-Tai Chung via Facebook.