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    Fr. Planning shares his experience with COVID-19
    The last public event with Fr. Stephen Planning before being diagnosed with COVID-19. Read more here:

    On March 16, the Gonzaga community received the shocking news that beloved Fr. Stephen Planning was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Thankfully though, Fr. Planning retested negative for the virus on April 1. 

    After Fr. Planning retested negative, he shared some of his experiences; Fr. Planning described his initial reaction to this disease that as of May 6 has now killed more Americans than the Vietnam War

    “It was scary because I have never had a sickness where the outcome is completely uncertain. There is no treatment for it, and all they tell you to do is sit in your room, and let us know how it goes,” Fr. Planning explained.

    While in quarantine, he stayed in his room at the Jesuit residence.

    “Eighteen days in my room was not fun. my fellow Jesuits were great; they would bring me food, put it into a container, and I would collect it, eat, clean, and then put the dishes outside the door. I would walk back and forth in my room for exercise … not a pleasant experience,” Fr. Planning said.

    Even though Fr. Planning had the virus, he is still cautious. 

    “I am still very careful and follow all precautions because nobody knows if you can get the virus again. I hope you can’t, and I am not taking any chances. When I go out in public, I wear a mask, and I would encourage everyone to take this very seriously,” Fr. Planning said.

    Fr. Planning was very grateful for the help he received while ill. 

    “My personal physician could not have been better; he was extraordinary, taking calls from me at any time, and also the D.C. Department of Health was also very good.” 

    When Gonzaga hosted a press conference and interfaith prayer service, Planning wanted to give a big “thank you” to the D.C. Department of Health, as they would check in with him daily to get temperatures and overall wellness. Planning does not know if the current 6,272 cases in the District would get the same treatment.

    “I don’t think I was alone in getting caught off guard by how quickly things developed, and I figured that if I am going to get it, I am going to get it, but I was not too worried. We did not know much about the virus, and in some sense, I am glad I got it when I did because I was less afraid of it,” Fr. Planning explained. 

    While the last few months have not been easy for the Gonzaga community, he had positive words about the work being done. 

    “I am very proud of our teachers and how Gonzaga has embraced this distance learning,”  Fr. Planning said.

    Many in the Gonzaga community want to know when the campus and the world will open again, and Fr. Planning explained his thoughts on reopening.

    “There’s a difference in easing restrictions and bringing 2,000 people to Gonzaga’s campus for graduation. I would not want Gonzaga to become ground zero for a mass infection, and I want to make it completely safe for those who may be at higher risk,”  he explained.

    Fr. Planning counted his blessings in an email sent out April 2 to the Gonzaga community. 

    “We all live with the belief that we are the ones who are in control of our lives. While it is necessary to live this way in order to be happy and healthy, there are those moments in life which remind us, sometimes very painfully, that we are in fact not in full control of our lives, our health, and our world. This is one of those times,” Planning wrote.

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