The time, money and effort that went into maintaining a safe environment for an in-person experience throughout the 2020-21 academic year amid the COVID-19 pandemic was worth it.
Keene State College did the right thing by allowing all students to return to campus for the entire year. We feel that the Keene State administrators did a good job to provide a safe environment and exciting experience for all KSC students, despite all of the setbacks that the college has faced and had to overcome this past academic year.
One of the main areas of difficulty that the college had to deal with was the many students’ worries and varying opinions about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The college has many responses to all of the challenges that go alongside with the current affairs of the world. Other colleges in the University System of New Hampshire had higher numbers of positive cases. According to COVID-19 Team Leader Wayne Hartz, Plymouth State had accumulated a total of 806 positive cases, UNH had 2,410 cases, while KSC had 271 positive cases as of April 2021.
One major change the college made to adjust to a safer educational environment amid the pandemic was the installation of video cameras in all the classrooms. This allowed professors to have the option to teach students remotely over Zoom, while some students remained in-person for their classes. The fact that the college was trying their hardest to ensure that every student’s learning styles could be met was a challenge to say the least but the final result was a successful entire academic year spent on campus.
Another area of concern and a challenge the college faced was having a safe in-person graduation experience at the end of the academic year. For so many seniors, the graduation ceremony is an incredibly important part of their college experience. So, if the college decided to not allow students back on campus for the 2020-21 academic year, and therefore having a virtual graduation, there would be a ton of outrage from both students and parents. Additionally, walking across the stage to receive one’s diploma is an essential part of the college experience. Since Keene State College decided to allow its students to return back to campus, it gives the senior class the opportunity to have their big moment and final experiences of their college education with their entire class in-person.
Keene State College has been fortunate enough to have their students remain on-campus for this past year due to the student body’s willingness to comply and follow the school’s COVID-19 guidelines. In the end, we are glad the college decided to take the risk to remain in-person for the sake of the graduating Class of 2021 seniors.