N.C. Wesleyan College has continued to regulate its policies to fit the needs of its students, faculty and staff members.
At this time, no member from the college has contracted COVID-19, but the college is still following federal and state regulations to be safe.
On March 23, President Evan Duff alerted students that the college would not resume face-to-face instruction for the rest of the semester, switching to online classes.
Wesleyan sophomore Mary Catherine Davis said she has had difficult times adjusting to distance learning.
“Generally, I have a lot more written coursework and my workload hasn’t been lessened at all,” she said. “I would say the hardest part of the transition would be losing my routine. I have no sleep schedule, my assignment due dates were shifted, and I have assignments in many different formats.”
Duff said the college has addressed the transition.
“We have provided tips and mental health advice for our faculty, staff and students to continue to help them cope with this new normal. If they need assistance with technology, remote instruction or mental well being, we are providing it to them,” he said.
There are still just over 100 students who remain on campus that are both international and domestic. Some students weren’t able to travel home, and some stayed on campus to take advantage of the resources the college is providing.
The college recommended that students who wouldn’t have access to computers or the internet to stay on campus in order to complete classwork. N.C. Wesleyan has some 1,200 students in its traditional program on the Rocky Mount campus. Another 1,000 students are enrolled in adult degree programs at sites around the state.
Duff shared the many policies they have put into place for the students still on campus.
“Our dining hall is still providing them with takeout meals, the community has provided them with hygiene products and other essential items for their residence halls, they can still gather in small groups of ten or less for outdoor activities and multiple 2-4 player games have been provided to them to keep them active between their study times,” he said.
The college has also provided work study for students who have remained on campus, so they have the opportunity of earning money.
The college announced on April 6 that it would be going on lockdown beginning April 9, meaning traffic in and out of the main campus will be closed except for essential employees.
Essential employees include workers from maintenance, housekeeping, dining services, business office, financial aid, registrar, admissions, and administration, Duff said. “While on campus, they must continue to follow all federal, state and local mandates regarding social distancing and hand washing protocols.”
Duff said the college has three main goals as of now to keep everyone safe. First, the college is keeping the residential students who are still on campus secure. Second, faculty and staff are being provided with the necessary resources available to serve students as the semester ends. Lastly, the administration wants to ensure everyone is communicating effectively with all of the college’s constituents.
Duff said he wants to make everyone involved “aware of every action we are taking during this time,” in order to run effectively. The college has implemented multiple policies and procedures to protect students, faculty, and staff from the spread of COVID-19.
On April 23, Gov. Roy Cooper extended the stay at home order through May 8 and released a three-phase process of lifting the restrictions based on the coronavirus. The college updated this information based on current recommendations and shared how the three-phase process would work for the students, faculty and staff in the upcoming weeks.
“As a small private school, the college has had to make strategic and mitigating decisions to create sustainability,” Duff said.
The college isn’t sure to what degree COVID-19 will affect fall enrollment, but administrators are monitoring the situation daily.
Vice President of Administration Suzanne Brackett said the college is keeping a close eye on all federal funding opportunities to help their students through this difficult time.
“The college will be adjusting students’ room and board charges with support of the CARES Act which will help offset any losses recognized by the college,” she said.
The college is currently working through the calculation process for getting the support to students.
There is still not much known about next year’s school year for many colleges nationwide, but NCWC will continue to monitor COVID-19 and respond accordingly.
Duff said N.C. Wesleyan “will take this one day at a time, evolve with the changes we can’t control and continue to provide the best education that we can to the students we serve.”