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How do you think Keene State College handled this semester with a pandemic in play? Staff and students of KSC reflect on their experiences as the semester comes to a close.

President of Keene State College Melinda Treadwel is, “blown away. I am an optimist by nature. All of you students made this possible. KSC students showed up and did everything. There was peer to peer support and not having large gatherings. I am incredibly proud of this campus. Students are doing it because I’m told they want to be here and that matters to me more than almost everything.”

Dr. Wayne Hartz, the Department Chair for Safety and Occupational Health Applied Sciences, said, “Keene State College has been operating like an island. We’ve got stuff going on all around us and, knock on wood, I gotta tell you, it’s the students that have made that possible. I don’t think they realize that, it’s the individual effort of students that have made that possible.”

However COVID made this fall semester memorable with many ups and downs for both students and staff on campus and remotely.

A remote student who wished to remain unnamed adds, “A lot of the classes that they did offer remotely is something that you would want to take in person, like painting. I’m an art major and they wanted me to take painting online, but how does that even work?” She felt that some of the negatives of the semester were how hard it was to get in touch with people on campus, “I reached out to a couple people about fees from last semester and she just stopped answering me. It’s like they have the option to just shut you out if they don’t want to talk to you.”

When hearing from students on campus, some like online classes while others do not.

After talking with students, one thingstruck Marianne Salcetti, a journalism professor at KSC, who said, “I call it ‘Zoom fatigue’, that for students that often have two or three classes on the same day– it’s one thing to go to two or three different classes physically and have a break, and be able to go to the student center, or hangout with your friends and go to another class, it’s a whole other thing entirely if you’re sitting at your kitchen table for hours and hours on end looking at a screen. I was sensitive from the get-go about Zoom fatigue, so I made a decision for both my classes that I would zoom just once a week and that other class time was spent on work that was assigned.”

KSC student Emeria Longval said, “All my professors were really understanding and accommodating, especially when I got COVID.”

Decisions, recognitions, some acceptances and more planning than usual was implemented this semester, said Salcetti, ”As professors, that’s our job, to make learning accessible, interesting ,and important for students… I feel pretty good about how the students are doing and what they’re getting out of my classes.” This fall semester required a lot of work for the students and a lot more for the professors. Salcetti finishes, “I have learned some things. I’ll be fine tuning a bit for the spring, and I’ll be ready to do it.”

Although this semester presented challenges, our president remains hopeful for the spring semester.

“Because of our asymptomatic numbers, I know we kept the city safe. I know we can do this in the spring. We will be hard-pressed but in the fall we proved we could do it. Everything will be mostly the same as in the fall. The only thing that might change is that we might have more severe travel restrictions if the situation becomes more severe,” Treadwell said.

 

Amber Olson can be contacted at:

aolson@kscequinox.com