All vaccinated and unvaccinated students in the Franciscan University of Steubenville Austria Program are restricted to the Kartause as a complete lockdown due to COVID-19 began Nov. 15 in Austria.
The stricter lockdown followed a decision by the government a week earlier to impose a lockdown for only the unvaccinated as COVID cases rose rapidly.
As of Nov. 15, both the vaccinated and unvaccinated throughout the country will be required to work at home, and all nonessential businesses will close until Dec. 12 unless cases stop rising.
The news hit Franciscan University’s Austria Program as students prepare to leave for the semester.
“It is disappointing that Austria seems to be caving to fear,” said graduate student Maria Therese Maggio.
Students, regardless of vaccination status, can still go to the grocery store, the pharmacy and the hospital. They can also still hike and go on walks around Gaming.
The lockdown means that there will be no possibility of travel both within and outside of Austria for the rest of the semester.
“Not being able to travel for the remainder of the semester certainly was the cause of many plans having to be thrown out the window,” said junior Caleb Rider. “However, it has been a blessing in disguise that has brought the majority of students together for a last hurrah of merry gatherings and fellowship as the semester ends.”
Some vaccinated students who were still able to visit Vienna Saturday before the second lockdown went into place experienced riots happening throughout the city due to the government’s decision.
“Thousands of people were there,” senior Jessica Bassili said. “They had police in riot gear at the train station, police everywhere, even a police helicopter.”
Despite the lockdown, students have begun to make the most of the last two weeks of the semester by planning various events. Several talks, sports events, community games and even a Veritas Debate happened the week following Nov. 15.
The Kartause has not yet had any cases of COVID among the students, faculty or staff.