While the world is up in arms about the pandemic virus, COVID-19, New England College is following in many universities footsteps and preparing for the worst. Earlier in the week, President Michele Perkins sent an email to the student body outlining the school’s game plan for a potential Coronavirus outbreak within the state. In this email she made it clear that as of right now a plan is in place but will not be put into action until absolutely necessary.
What is the plan?
In many other universities in the Northeast, campuses are going remote, and no face-to-face classes will be held for either a period of time or for the remainder of the academic year. Education will still be each school’s top priority, and classes will be held at their scheduled time through either zoom or blackboard collaborate.
President Perkins let the student body know that if the time comes for a similar plan to be set into action, students will have a very short amount of time to pack their belongings and go back home. This poses a serious problem for students who live far away or rely on campus housing for the majority of the year.
Students who don’t reside in the New England area are on their own to find transportation to their homes. Not only would this be difficult to do short notice anytime, but international students also risk not being able to go back to their countries due to the virus. Countries, like Italy, have strict travel restrictions set in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
While it is unclear whether or not New England College will go online for the remainder of the year or just for a designated amount of time, some students may not have the financial means to go home, come back to school, then return home again. Some students also rely on work-study jobs, campus housing, and campus meal plans to carry out their day-to-day lives. Stripping students of these things for a Coronavirus evacuation plan could seriously hinder their financial situations.
Since athletics are a huge part of the NEC, thinking about in-season athletic teams at the school has also been a major topic of concern. Since colleges around the country have already made the decision to close their doors and go online, their athletics teams have had to drop out of games and tournaments. The same would also be applicable to NEC athletics. Men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, and softball could face either travel restrictions or even forfeited seasons.
No definite plans have been set in place for NEC yet, but as other universities and campuses around the country continue to switch to online classes, the threat of the virus is becoming real for students and staff at the college. President Perkins has let the school know that she will be updating the student body twice a week until the Coronavrus hysteria dies down, or even worse, continues to spread.