We are now living in history.
The entire United States has encountered a force that feels nothing short of invincible. Nearly every institution, corporation, and business has been affected in some way. Every life within the U.S. has undoubtedly been shifted in adaptation to the spreading COVID-19 virus.
Within our community, all students and faculty are in the process of adjusting to the necessary changes involved in the soon-to-come virtual classes. Added to this incredible weight is the responsibility for all to accustom the numerous other unavoidable changes to everyday life whose approach feels closer every day.
In this world-altering crisis, ironically, the only thing that has been constant is constant change. At the start of the Pandemic, most of America didn’t give the coronavirus a second glance due to its distance and the comfort we can all have in our modern health system.
Now, less than two months since the first case in the United States, there has been an accelerating, exponential growth of cases with over 13,000 cases diagnosed as of March 19.
As the number of cases rise, so do the many changes in our daily lives, from restaurants closing to nearly all college and professional sporting events being canceled for the year.
Likewise, our university will surely experience changes in the coming future. Yet, these new changes have the possibility to shift as quickly as the need for them came about.
It is important to remember that in addition to the thousands of students on campus, ACU employs a large sum of workers in dining services, groundskeeping, janitorial services and more. These people are dependent on the university in much more fiscal ways, meaning that the absence of the student body could be much more detrimental; without a population on campus, these jobs lose their cruciality.
In reference to the students on campus, all those living on campus, especially those relying on flights to get back to campus, must wait in anticipation for further news about returning to regular classes or staying a virtual university for the foreseeable future.
Because of the haste of the virus, the decisions concerning it, and the fact that these decisions took place in the middle of the university’s spring break mean that most students are now restrained from their personal belongings with the exceptions of the items they brought for the break– which for most, do not include much more than a week’s worth of clothing and in worst cases, excludes laptops or the necessary materials to begin said virtual classes.
The fault of these and the many other inconveniences are with nothing but the happenstance of the virus. However, many students ought to now be asking where their money is going if they are not there to live in the dorms and eat the meals they paid for.
Furthermore, we are all waiting to see how classes will continue virtually, especially for classes that require two hands and a face-to-face interaction. For those such as art majors, fundamentally, learning will be frozen until they have access once again to the expertise of a professor and the materials needed to create.
This instance only reaches to the strife of those in the art department, but is surely also present in many other facets at the university.
Because the virus is afflicting much more than just post-secondary learning, greater problems lie ahead for students looking for internships as they approach or pass graduation. Many majors require experience interning and, even without this requirement, an internship proves to be imperative for future job placement.
If businesses are closed indefinitely, they will not hire an intern. If a business is not closed, the business they may be lacking resources to hire and pay an intern. This adds many layers to the already-present pile of concerns many upperclassmen may have.
Outside of just education, the university also hosts camps for kids of many ages, throughout the summer. These camps offers many positions as counselors, most of whom are students of the university. In addition, these camps are meaningful experiences, focussed firstly on faith, offering benefits that cannot be counted for hundreds of kids. Although a statement concerning camps has not yet been released, the rate of shutdown currently suggests that they will not be continuing this summer as well.
All solutions to these questions and challenges are hard to anticipate right now with the rapidly developing stance against this virus. However, one can’t help but look to the future and ask if the 2020-21 school year will be proceeding with in-person classes or will the absence of a vaccine prevail to prevent social interaction?
The endless questions posed to us as a university are undeniably frightening. Nevertheless, we can always share a comfort in the knowledge that we are not in control, but our God always is.
“For the LORD will not forsake His people; He will never abandon His heritage.” Psalm 94:14