Anderson University serves as an example of how education can be done right in the time of COVID-19.
Few would deny the value of the in-person educational experience, and AU has proceeded forward in providing that while implementing several modifications to ensure safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
A former deputy director of the FBI, AU President John Pistole has learned from his counterterrorism days that risks cannot be eliminated but they can be mitigated.
On move-in day, gone was the festive atmosphere with an army of helpers hoisting the luggage of newcomers. Instead students and their families had to do the heavy lifting themselves and were required to wear face masks while on campus.
“I’ve got to say it went as smoothly as I think we could ever hope for,” Pistole told The Herald Bulletin on Thursday. “Students were anxious to be on campus so they were very cooperative and agreeable.”
Other measures include providing more single occupant rooms and allowing for more online engagement between students and teachers. About three-quarters of classes are being conducted online, Pistole said.
Looking back on the first week of school, Pistole said he was proud to see students wearing masks on campus and abiding by social distancing requirements. On Tuesday night, a chapel service was held outdoors.
“Faculty and staff did a great job of pivoting to the new normal,” Pistole said.
We can all get back to normal if we are willing to accept that normal has changed. We would do well to follow Anderson University’s example of pulling together as a community to mitigate risk.