Silent spring: A photo essay


In response to the growing presence of COVID-19, Occidental College announced March 12 that classes would take place online for the remainder of the semester. With the exception of those who petitioned with special circumstances, all students were required to leave campus. While the college has not closed, much of its operations have been minimized or temporarily suspended in an attempt to slow the virus’ spread.

According to an email from Rob Flot, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, 217 of 432 students who petitioned were approved to stay on campus past the March 20 move-out deadline. In light of the March 19 announcement of stay-at-home orders by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and California governor Gavin Newsom, Occidental president Jonathan Veitch announced via campus-wide email March 21 that any non-essential college staff would work from home.

The Occidental College academic quad, mostly empty. March 16, 2020.


A student balances cardboard moving boxes on her head outside Erdman Hall. March 16, 2020.


Jessa Jeter (senior) and Snigdha Suvarna (senior) take each other’s senior photos March 16, 2020. As of March 31, the college has yet to announce its plans for the Class of 2020 commencement ceremony.


A sign in the Academic Commons reminds visitors to wash their hands March 16, 2020. At 1 p.m. that same day, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Wendy Sternberg announced that the Academic Commons would be closed to in-person users effective 5 p.m.


The deserted main floor of the Academic Commons, which closed to students at the end of the day March 16, 2020.


Fowler Hall, Johnson Hall and the Arthur G. Coons Administrative Center steps. March 17, 2020.


Maya Hutcheson-Jones (first year) waits to be picked up as students begin leaving the dorms for the semester. March 16, 2020.


Walt’s, an Eagle Rock bar popular with Occidental students, is closed “until further notice,” according to their Instagram page. March 22, 2020.


A face mask abandoned on the sidewalk along Campus Road. March 22, 2020.


Ed Cain (senior) does online coursework while Evan Sarafian (senior) and Isaiah Bird (senior) play board games at the dining room table in their Eagle Rock home. March 21, 2020.


At the local Sprouts Farmers Market, household essentials and nonperishable foods remain scarce. March 22, 2020.


Nonessential businesses along York Boulevard remain closed March 22, 2020.


The empty faculty parking lot at Occidental College. March 22, 2020.


Marketplace staff member Michael Claw ensures that students use hand sanitizer as they come through the dining hall’s side entrance. March 16, 2020.


Erdman Hall’s common room remained quiet in the days before March 20, the move-out deadline for most Occidental students. March 16, 2020.