Moving Into the Red Zone




“Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Following the latest government decree and an increase in COVID-19 cases in Italy over the last week, Rome and the entire Lazio Region will be a red zone effective Monday, March 15, 2021.”

I recently received an email that Temple University Rome will be moving all classes online until April 6. Lazio is now in the red zone, which means the Rt index (rate of transmission) is 1.25 or above. Additionally, Italy is going under a nationwide “red zone” lockdown on April 3, 4, and 5. On these specific days, we won’t be able to leave our apartments unless it’s for work, health, or essential/urgent matters and we need to carry a self-certified form.

I was looking forward to celebrating Easter in Rome because it is one of the biggest holidays celebrated here (Jesus Christ’s resurrection). I have seen lots of Easter preparations in many grocery stores and bakeries already! In Italy, the two most significant dates are Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Most places are closed on these days. While I am not Catholic, the Vatican city is just 10 minutes away from my apartment! My friends and I were planning to find tickets to attend mass and see the Pope. We will probably zoom call and watch it on YouTube now!

Some of the main changes to my daily life include:

1. Taking virtual classes (Thankfully, Temple Rome will be open and students can study there).

2. We cannot dine in restaurants (only deliveries and take-aways).

3. We are not allowed to move around the city unless it is for work, study, or health reasons.

4. We cannot travel on the weekends.

One of the most important lessons I have learned so far is that my mindset is essential. The covid pandemic/rising cases are not within my control, but I can control my attitude. I find myself filled with gratitude despite the lockdown. I will be journaling what I am thankful for every day and focus my energy on how lucky I am to be here. I can focus on all the fantastic weekend/day trips I have gone to thus far (and look through my pictures/videos) and anticipate traveling again near the end of my program!