CCP nursing grads celebrate over Zoom, face pandemic head-on

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Community College of Philadelphia graduating class of 2020 has been through a lot, especially its nursing students.

Their academic careers were indelibly changed by the coronavirus pandemic, and they were forced to pivot to online classes. At least three students have tested positive for COVID-19 themselves. 

On top of that, they had to mourn the death of a fellow classmate, who died in a car crash.

“They've cried. They've been angry. They've been annoyed. You can see the eye rolls on Zoom, because they didn't sign up for this,” she said.

They didn't sign up for finishing their coursework on a laptop either. Student Jessica Dorsey did so while balancing her job as a home health care aide.

“I'm frightened to come into work and going back home to my kids,” she said. “That's pretty much how it's really affected me.”

Student Natalya Zuyevych has two kids at home, and she was laid off from her health care job in January. She also lost a dear uncle to COVID-19 during her nursing school career. Her family has been unable to hold a funeral.

But Friday, she shares triumphs and tears with her classmates.

“Just having this party to kind of finalize it and just be able to celebrate together, I think everyone is going to be really emotional,” she said. “There is no last hurrah where we can all celebrate together, and it's definitely sad. It's sad. We are going to have a virtual celebration with our class, but it's not the same.”

Curry said the school is looking at a possible in-person pinning ceremony in August.

Until then, she said there’s no doubt the grads will face the pandemic head-on after graduation.

“They're having all these challenges. They're about to enter the workforce and care for the most vulnerable, and many of them will be coronavirus patients,” she noted.