Everyone is talking about COVID-19. Starting a new semester, the president of Blue Mountain College, Dr. McMillin, issued a plan for the college to keep everyone safe and healthy. Even though those on campus are following the rules, there is no guarantee that there will not be students or faculty who test positive for the virus. Within the first week of school starting back, several students tested positive. When one tests positive, Ms. Deanna Palmer asks a series of questions in order to find out who has been in contact with whom. The affected student will still be allowed to continue his or her class online but from an isolated area either on campus or at the student's own home.
One student who tested positive elected to remain on campus. Since he did not want to put his family at risk of catching the virus either, the college provided an isolated home and meals for him. Since he was still on campus, he had access to the school’s Wi-Fi. The student also mentioned that the instructors were mindful of the situation and communicated with him.
When asked how he would rate the overall experience, the response was, “I was never stressed or faced with the question, ‘What should I do or be doing?’ As I said, my instructors were very helpful with assignments and Mrs. Deanna made sure I was taken care of. So, as a whole, my experience was actually more of a mini vacation.” For some students it may indeed seem like a vacation of sorts, though not every student felt this way during their time under quarantine.
A student who was exposed to the virus also underwent two weeks of quarantine. This student is a commuter and received an email the night before the second week of school started. He used work and homework to occupy the time. “It got stressful. One of my teachers communicated really well with me, but the others I had to email first, and nothing was ever explained well. I was lost in some of my classes, which in the end resulted in a bad start to the year grades-wise.” He rated the overall experience a five out of ten because “even though the communication between student and teacher was almost nonexistent, I did get to sleep in more than usual before class started.” Even though the student was discouraged because of the online system, he did express the excitement of being back on campus and in class.
Two different students with two different stories show the public that the virus could affect a person either way. Blue Mountain College has come a long way in making the campus safer for its students and faculty, and though things are not perfect, the college is on its way to becoming a safer learning environment through working together and making sure the students get what they need.