Over the past couple of weeks, the coronavirus has escalated to a point no one ever thought it would reach. Colleges across the nation were being closed down left and right. I began to worry about what would happen next as the virus was officially listed as a pandemic. It was clear Oberlin was going to have to shut down operations and move to digital learning. Oberlin went above and beyond in the situation, though, and didn't just make sure the students were protected from the virus, Oberlin also made sure students had a strategy for the future and a means to attain it.
Several update emails arrived in my inbox after Oberlin announced students would have to leave campus in the coming week. These emails informed me that my flight home would be paid for by Oberlin. Not only was my flight paid for, though, every low-income student's flight was paid for by Oberlin. On top of that, Oberlin offered long-term loaner Macbooks and hotspots to students in need. Oberlin loaned these items to the students for free, ensuring that every student had an equal opportunity to learn in the future. Students worried about what they would do with the items in their room. Oberlin was already on top of it though as they purchased hundreds of boxes for students and informed us that they would even ship items to our homes for free. Oberlin has also made it clear they are committed to keeping as many work-study jobs open as possible and will even adjust current ones so the students can work remotely and still earn pay. Essentially, what I am saying is Oberlin truly cares about students.
The announcement of Oberlin moving to online learning brought a lot of questions from the student population. Oberlin helped ease these concerns through group discussions in every class where the students were able to talk to the professors about what we would like the format of this learning to look like. It was evident the professors valued the students' opinions, and it definitely felt good to have a say in the future of our learning. This is a great example of the liberal arts experience. Students aren't just forced into a one size fits all box, our opinions matter and things can and will be adjusted based on our opinions. The professors also had sessions with students where they taught us how to use Zoom technology. I felt that these sessions were very informative, and I came out with a clear understanding of what learning will look like in the future.
I am writing this blog from Florida where my family lives. Oberlin helped me arrive at my home with little to no worries despite all of the fears the coronavirus has brought on the nation. Oberlin has made it clear that they will always take care of students even in the middle of a pandemic. With that said, if you are reading this, make sure you take care of yourself. Practice social distancing and try to avoid crowds. Keep hand sanitizer on you and wash your hands whenever possible. Avoid touching your face, and if you are feeling sick get tested. Comment below fun things to do while practicing social distancing!