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Hollywood semester cut short

An email sent by the university to Hollywood semester students on Tuesday recommended that students in Los Angeles return home.

Of the 24 students registered for the Hollywood semester, some are choosing to stay in LA, while others have decided to come home. Communication between the students and BJ Lawrence, associate dean for Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts and coordinator for the program, is ongoing, as of Wednesday. 

Lawrence said that a WhatsApp site has been created for those staying in Hollywood to communicate with Bradley. 

Courses will be completed online, following Bradley University guidelines, with some internships being done remotely, according to Lawrence.  

“The Price is Right,” the Dodgers and Fox Sports Radio have discontinued their internship programs for the remainder of the semester, but the student working on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” is staying in Hollywood to continue.

If students are unable to work remotely, they can discuss a different way to receive the internship credit with Lawrence.

Those staying in LA will still have their school-supplied apartments, were advised to stock up on food and informed about delivery services and health facilities.

“We tried really hard to make sure that everything is for the students’ best benefit and health and safety,” Lawrence said.

According to Lawrence, the university delayed recommending students come home due to the uncertainty of the situation. She said they had to make sure students could travel home before they made the final decision. 

“I feel comfortable that we have maintained the best interest of the students and their safety and their health with every decision that’s been made,” Lawrence said. “I think the students are very disappointed that they have to go home … but they understand that this is a pandemic that we’ve never been through before.”

During the past week of various emails from the university to students, those in Hollywood were concerned, according to Kelly Rogers, a junior television arts major.

“[We were] just counting the minutes until we found something out that was going to apply to us,” Rogers said.

According to Rogers, fewer than 10 students decided to stay in Hollywood, while the others chose to return home after discussing it with their parents and thinking through the impact of the situation.

“As that day progressed, I realized that the county of Burbank, at the very least, if not the entirety of LA or California, was going to go on lockdown very quickly,” Rogers said. “I wasn’t going to be able to do either of my internships remotely, and so at that point, it didn’t seem worth it to stay out there.”

Rogers worked on the Screen Actors Guild awards and had two internships in LA. She worked at Rose Rock Films, located on the Warner Bros. lot, and GOAL Productions.

She will not finish either of her internships remotely, but she will be editing a video project to complete the 200 hours required for the internship credit. 

Rogers believes she and the other students from the semester made the right decisions for their health and safety, and she said they want to go back to see and do what they didn’t get to experience.

“Personally, I never got to go see the ocean and the beach because I kept on putting things off because I didn’t want to do everything right in that first weekend and then run out of things to do,” Rogers said. “I was easing my way into it and thinking ‘I have plenty of time, I have months,’ and then all of sudden, within a matter of a week, everything was being shut down.”

Rogers said she enjoyed the time she had in Hollywood, but she is now happy to be safe at home with her parents.

“One day, I hope to go back and finish it off the right way,” Rogers said.

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