The End of an Era: Tom Brady Leaves New England

Sadly, it actually happened. On Tuesday, March 17th, Tom Brady announced via Instagram that his football career would not continue on the New England Patriots. A few days later, Tom Brady signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth 50 million guaranteed over 2 years with another 9 million in incentives.

Brady is joining a team that has not made the playoffs since the 2007 season and has not had a playoff win since they won Super Bowl 37 in January 2003. In the 2019 season, Tampa Bay finished 7-9 and was mainly held back by mistake-prone quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw a league-leading 30 interceptions. Winston’s many interceptions proved too much to overcome in many of their losing games. Aside from Winston, Tampa Bay has the potential to contend with receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and running back Ronald Jones II; as well as an above-average defense. This group is talented, however, not talented enough to make up for a liability at quarterback. This is what pushed them to sign Tom Brady, a quarterback who brings consistency to this group and is an upgrade for the Buccaneers, provided he keeps playing at his current level. 

In Foxborough, times are tough for the Patriots fanbase. Fans who have been spoiled with decades of consistent winning, deep playoff runs, and duck boat parades now face something foreign – uncertainty. What will this team be like without Brady? With Brady leaving, the team now turns to either the second-year pro, Jarrett Stidham or career backup Brian Hoyer; neither of whom holds a torch to the legacy of Tom Brady but may be serviceable short-term options.

The Patriots have also lost other key free agents on defense including Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and Duron Harmon. However, the Patriots still have half of the powerful duo that dominated the NFL for 2 decades – Head Coach Bill Belichick. Belichick is a football genius and if any coach can make a contender out of this group again, it is him. While these losses do hurt the team, the Patriots have overcome lots of personnel turnover throughout their impressive run. The one constant to the team in terms of players has been Tom Brady and with his departure, Belichick will face his biggest test; can he keep the dynasty going without Brady or will he struggle to take this team back to the Super Bowl? 

In Brady’s tenure, the Patriots have won six Super Bowls while appearing in nine, and they have won the AFC East Division 17 times in 19 seasons. This display of dominance is something the NFL will never see again and Tom Brady was an integral part of this immense success.

For young Patriots fans, this will be the first time they see the Patriots without Tom Brady in 20 years, and it will be an odd sight to see. While right now we might be feeling sad seeing Brady leave we should be happy for the time he spent with the Patriots and the many great memories he has given us.

Thank you, Tom Brady, you will be missed. 

Coronavirus Causes Campus Closure for the Semester

Over the past few weeks, colleges and universities across the nation have faced uncertainty, confusion, and fear in light of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), and Saint Anselm was no exception. The administration’s initial response, which included canceling planned lectures and events but remaining committed to keeping campus open for the remainder of the semester, sparked widespread confusion among the community. 

Widely spread rumors on campus of shutdowns and students with the virus did not quell anxieties, with emails from the president’s virus task force often leaving them unmentioned. Throughout the week, the Preparedness Task Force sent daily emails to update the campus community and reassured everyone that they were doing everything possible to keep students on campus for the remainder of the semester.

When nearby Southern New Hampshire University announced it would be extending its spring break because of the spread of the virus, many wondered if Saint Anselm would soon follow suit. Instead of suspending classes and sending students home, the board of trustees and other school administrators tried to prolong students’ stay on campus. Various departments began circulating informative posters and encouraging students to wash their hands, while administrators maintained that every possible action was being taken to ensure students stay on campus.

Rumors of students who had the virus residing on campus were rapidly spread around, with professors and even health services staff unable to verify them. Students were left to wonder if they should cancel club meetings and other gatherings to prevent the possible spread of the virus; the lack of clarification on the issue until late Thursday night aided the spread of disinformation. While the administration was involved in all-day meetings on whether or not to suspend classes and other activities for several days before the announcements, concerns were mounting about the spread of the virus in the area, with a case confirmed in neighboring Bedford just a few days before the closure. 

When other college students were being sent home or having their spring breaks extended for several weeks, Saint Anselm students were often left without direction for how their school was reacting to the growing crisis. Recommending that students not leave campus except for essential activities, banning those who were not members of the school community from campus, and suspending Meelia Center volunteering seemed to be meant to push off the inevitable step of shutting down the school for the safety of students, staff, and the greater community. 

The lack of information sent to students in the process of deciding to move courses online and close down campus caused confusion; Katie Monahan ‘23 noted that “[the administration] was trying to calm us but also not give us any information” and “didn’t gauge the climate outside of Saint Anselm” in keeping the community in the dark about next steps. 

Confusion about the administration’s course of action led to uncertainty among students until last Friday when an email sent to all employees and students of Saint Anselm College from Dr. Favazza announced the closure of the college within 48 hours. Students were told they had until Sunday evening to be fully moved out, generating potential problems for those who reside outside of New England or overseas. A week after the initial announcement of the closure, Dr. Favazza informed students that the campus would be closed for the duration of the spring semester; he added that there would be refunds for room and board fees, but the details of that would be coming at a later time. 

Among those most academically and emotionally affected were Saint Anselm’s seniors, many of whom were preparing to take their comprehensive exams and begin the search for jobs to start their post-graduation career. Julianne Plourde ‘20 noted that her professors were aiding the transition to online classes, saying: 

“I have also been impressed with the amount of professors/faculty/staff that have reached out to the students and offered their personal support if necessary. They have been having virtual office hours, giving out their phone numbers, and letting us know that they are there. I think this is especially helpful to the seniors as we try to apply for jobs and figure out what we are doing after graduation.” 

Plourde also noted the head of the politics department reached out to seniors informing them of the cancellation of the comp exams, giving them “…one less thing to worry about while making the transition to online classes.” She said that seniors are “hopeful for a graduation,” and feels that “the administration has put seniors first, and [they] have all gotten closer” during this moment of uncertainty. 

What You Need To Know About The Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At the close of 2019, a vast number of cases of some unknown illness were diagnosed in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. At the present date, this disease has now spread across the globe and is being considered a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and all hands are on deck to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Most cases are considered mild, but health officials claim that the spread of this virus across the United States is inevitable. As the nation prepares, here are some answers to the most important questions you may have. 

What is it?

According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from a common cold to a much more serious disease infecting both humans and animals. The strain that began spreading in Wuhan, China, is related to two other coronaviruses that have had major outbreaks in the recent past,  severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

COVID-19 spreads more easily than SARS and is more closely related to other coronaviruses that cause cold-like symptoms. It is highly transmissible, and since cases are mild, the disease may be more widespread than current testing numbers suggest as some may not even know they are infected. People can and have been transmitting the virus before they show any symptoms.

Where has it spread in the U.S.?

As of now, every state in the United States has at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. This has led to major changes by state governments that have included shutting down borders and mandating that citizens stay in their homes. California and New York have suggested that people should not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary to help minimize the spread of the disease. 

Is it fatal, and who is at risk?

Between 2 and 3 percent of reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States have been fatal according to WHO reports. Similar to other respiratory illnesses, older people and those with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk.  As with every other disease, there can be tremendous individual variation in how people respond to the virus and whether it is a serious case or not. There will be people with known risk factors who recover as well as people who develop severe cases for reasons we don’t fully understand.

How should I prepare?

Something you have likely heard of before is social distancing. This means staying at least 6 feet away from others and attempting to be in public as little as possible. Social distancing helps to limit the transmission of the disease and is most accurately represented by the graphic on the right. 

Don’t panic.  The most important thing we can all do is remain calm. COVID-19 will pass, it’s only a matter of time. As with all viruses, there are some preliminary precautions you can take. You’ve heard it before, but I will say it again: wash your hands regularly. This helps prevent you from unconsciously spreading the virus between surfaces. It is recommended that you wash for at least twenty seconds after every meal, use of the restroom, and public excursion.  Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. If you’re sick, stay home and drink lots of fluids. One common misconception surrounding the disease is that wearing a mask will prevent you from contracting it. This is untrue. You should only be wearing a mask if you are a medical professional or are showing any symptoms. This myth can create shortages for those who need the masks and other medical supplies necessary to treat sick individuals. Lastly, don’t touch your face. Touching your eyes, nose, and mouth allows the virus to enter your system more easily, so avoid doing so when you can.

When will it end?

It is impossible to truly predict when this pandemic will end. It could follow similar patterns to other flu-like diseases and slow down during the summer months in the northern hemisphere and pick up in the south. COVID-19 will spread, but keeping safe and healthy should be our first priority.