Story by Lindsay Hillstrom, News Editor
Photographs courtesy of Aquinas College.
In late 2019, few people would have guessed that a worldwide pandemic was going to dramatically change everyone’s lives. When it arrived in early 2020, the pandemic triggered school closures across the United States. School districts scrambled to adopt online teaching methods as their students took classes from home. In the two years since then, the development of vaccines, enforcement of mask mandates and other public health measures have made it possible for many schools to resume in-person learning, Aquinas College among them.
Coordinating a response to COVID-19 and keeping the campus community safe continues to be a challenge for Aquinas’s administration, but it is one they are determined to meet. Even with the emergence of new COVID-19 strains, including the most recent omicron variant, Aquinas remains dedicated to providing its students with a safe and healthy learning experience.
“New variants have not affected our philosophy to work directly with the Kent County Health Department and to follow their guidelines as well as the CDC,” said Nick Davidson, AQ vice president for Student Affairs and Athletics. “The guidelines are ever changing and so we have tried to change at the same pace.”
While classes have largely gone back to normal at Aquinas, this and other school’s athletics programs have struggled at times to contain the spread of COVID-19. Despite precautionary measures such as mandatory face masks while practicing and competing, many collegiate matches have been postponed or canceled this semester.
This leads to the question that is undoubtedly on many people’s minds: Will Aquinas be forced to resume remote learning at some point this year? It is hard to say, but Davidson praises the student body for their continued dedication to COVID-19 protocols.
“Our students have been phenomenal at following our guidelines for quarantine and isolation by going home to fulfill those requirements,” Davidson said. “What might put us at risk of going virtual would be if we ran out of quarantine and isolation space.”
To decrease the likelihood of another shift to virtual learning, Davidson and other administrators encourage students to remain vigilant and continue to follow mask protocols when in public settings.
“Please continue to self-report symptoms, exposure, and positive cases as quickly as you can so that we can follow our protocols as quickly as we can to keep others safe,” Davidson said.