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Wright State professor speaks on family in Italy amid coronavirus

Professor Nickelman's Family | Photo provided by Rosalba Nickelman

Professor Nickelman’s Family | Photo provided by Rosalba Nickelman


With the broad diversity of students, faculty and staff on the Wright State University campus, the current global situation is one that hits home for members of the WSU community.

Professor of Modern Languages Rosalba Nickelman, who has family in Italy, touched on the situation in her home country.

‘There are days I wish I was there with them’

“I have been shocked by what is going on there in the past month or two. Everything happened and got out of control very fast, and everybody has had a very hard time adjusting to the shock and to the gradually increasing isolation measures that the government is still imposing,” said Nickelman.

With family and friends spread all over Italy in Bologna, Naples and Trento, mostly living in big cities, accessibility to necessities such as grocery stores, health centers and hospitals is not a concern.

“I am really heartbroken for my country and for what Italians are going through. There are days that I wish I was there with them, even though the situation is dramatic. I hope here in the states we learn a lesson from their misfortune. And I hope that here in Ohio, we all try to respect the governor’s regulation for social distance, etc. to slow down the rate of how this virus is spreading,” said Nickelman.

Although the family are in a safe place and have what they need, the lack of socialization is difficult. Not being able to visit their next-door neighbor, enjoy their local bar or coffee shop or go shopping, and requiring video calls and social media to be the main source of communication for the time being has had a big impact on Nickelman’s family. Embracing the situation with creativity as an alternative to being together, the Italian people have gotten innovative and organized flash mobs as well as sing from their balconies. 

Socializing during quarantine

Not being able to visit their next-door neighbor, enjoy their local bar or coffee shop or go shopping, and requiring technology to be the main source of communication, for the time being, has had a big impact on Nickelman’s family.

“Quarantine is rough for the average Italian,” said Nickelman.

“They are very social and their daily habits reinforce a much closer exchange and social interaction. Most of my relatives and friends live in apartment buildings, they are on top of each other, literally and psychologically.”

Even with the situation not improving and the impact of strict government regulations, there are people that continue to go out and not quarantine themselves.

Despite the current situation, communication with her family is not a struggle.

“Thanks to technology and social media, I get to talk to my family and friends as often as I want.”


Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness spread between people in close contact with each other or through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. To protect yourself and those around you, cover coughs and sneezes and avoid contact with the eyes, nose and mouth. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).