As classes debut their completely online format, it goes without saying that nearly everyone within the ACU community is at a loss. The rampant COVID-19 virus has, and continues to strip opportunities from the hands of faculty, staff, and students.
However, as the effects of the virus only seem to escalate, it is made more clear each day that the decision was made for the benefit of our safety, and has since succeeded in protecting it.
Each day, news breaks about increasing danger for the American people with another desperate solution to slow it. Now, the latest reaction has now been orders for lockdown or shelter-in-place in a total of 21 states as of March 25 and likely increasing still. Though many were initially split in the true severity of the virus, major developments, namely the declaration of a national emergency, has brought most to the understanding that real steps must be taken to slow the disease, even if it takes away comforts from our daily lives.
In the past weeks, many shocking figures and statistics have put the situation into a glaring perspective. Few, however, have spoken louder than the CDC’s graph of cases in the U.S., beginning January 12, 2020 and ending as of now at March 24. The graph shows an exponential growth of cases that began to spike only one week ago.
At the end of February, the concern in the United States was as quiet as the 16 national cases as of Feb. 28. Now only three weeks later, the number of cases exceeds 54,000 and could presumably be up to ten times greater if more testing was available.
All of this goes to show the true relentlessness of the virus in its ability to spread in speeds uncharted.
With that being said, the decision for the university to resume classes online was surely a wise one.
It goes without saying that a college campus is one of the worst environments to try to slow the spread of a disease. Even forgetting the challenge of raising appropriate, active awareness among a 5,400 person student body, the day-to-day functions of our campus are simply impossible to continue safely while students are still present in their traditional capacity.
This of course meant that the only option was for the campus to go completely online, even chapel is now virtual and was seen this Wednesday for the first time.
Although online classes have many challenges, the place in time for this virus is truly remarkable. Only ten years ago, going to an online campus, and with nearly no preparation, would simply be impossible.
Now, we must be thankful that our technology and access to it can allow us to continue education, despite our inability to interact personally.
This virus only seems to persist but likewise, so do we. With the immediate cooperation of our community, ACU has moved to a virtual campus and, in doing so, has recognized and acted against the potential growth of more contaminants in the United States today.