We are now entering uncharted territory for Baylor.
On March 11, 2020, Baylor University students, faculty, staff, and community at large, experienced the personal effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Spring Break for students has been extended through next week. The spring semester will resume on Monday, March 23; however, classes will be provided strictly in an online environment for a two-week period from March 23 through April 3,” announced President Linda Livingstone through email.
This difficult decision was made by leadership at Baylor University with the advice from a task force founded to prepare for the virus.
“Baylor’s university-wide COVID-19 Task Force was formed in late January and continues to work diligently on this unprecedented situation by closely monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically related to higher education, state and local public health authorities, and our own health care experts, as well as responses from other universities nationwide. The task force makes recommendations to University leadership to assist us in making well-informed decisions to ensure the continued health and safety of our community,” Livingstone’s statement said.
As more cities and states around the nation begin to declare states of emergency, it is important to remember that many students will be in close proximity to these places over the now-extended break. As Baylor takes precautions to avoid a problem within the university, it can lead to some questions for current students.
One Miami junior, Sophie Acebo (’21), has some concerns about the cancelation.
“It’s definitely difficult navigating these new Coronavirus procedures, especially being an out-of-state student and now having to book new flights and figure out last minute travel expenses. Despite these complications, I’m really proud of Baylor for taking the necessary steps to keep the students, faculty, staff, and family of Baylor safe and protected while we all figure out what to do,” Acebo said.
Many current students also work at Baylor through the federal work-study program. One student who will be affected by this is Houston senior Erick Campos (’20).
“It was a bit worrisome reading the alert today. While I’m glad the break was extended another week, I’m worried on how my on-campus job will be affected by it. Starbucks tends to be a high demand location on campus but the uncertainty of students going there could potentially lead to minimal hours for me. It’s a balance that can hopefully be figured out sooner rather than later,” Compos said.
While the closures are causing some financial and travel problems for students and their families, many others understand how it is necessary for our community health.
Amber Adamson, associate lecturer of journalism, public relations, and new media, is working on a plan for teaching her students online in the middle of the semester, something Baylor has not prioritized previously.
“I appreciate Baylor administration’s focus on the health of our community. I’ll be spending a good deal of time in the coming week and a half preparing to deliver course content online so my students don’t miss anything. It’s certainly doable. I’ve already started thinking of ways to tweak assignments so students can do them remotely. Baylor has the technology in place to make it possible and our discipline lends itself to stories written from anywhere. We can collaborate on edits through a Google Doc,” Adamson said.
For another student, this is eliminating fears of returning to school. Carlie Bonomo (’22), Spicewood sophomore, believes this is a good thing.
“Honestly, I’m not surprised they canceled classes at all considering everyone else is. I was actually kind of scared to go back if they didn’t because of so many people traveling and going on cruises,” Bonomo said.
While there are different beliefs on how this will positively and negatively affect Baylor University and their students, many students appreciate the university erring on the side of safety. Fear of contracting COVID-19 on campus are minimized through the efforts of Baylor leadership to extend the break and move to remote classes.
“This is a challenging time, but the health and safety of our campus community remains our central focus at Baylor University. As members of the Baylor Family, we ask that you continue to pray for all those across the globe whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19 and for the public health officials, doctors and scientists who are working around the clock to end the outbreak. May they be the hands and feet of Jesus, our great physician,” Livingstone’s statement said.