4 area college Presidents discussed how COVID is having on their respective campuses, but the virus is affecting those who are doing all their studying at home. Herkimer College President Dr. Cathleen McColgin opened the discussion of remote learning.
"While technology has served us during the pandemic, remote study and work should not be the default."
Utica College President Dr. Laura Casamento is seeing is the effects remote learning is having on students and staff.
"Given COVID, and lockdowns, and being again in the Hollywood squares you know 24-7 has created I think a lot of angst and mental fatigue."
A good percentage of students have returned back to the classroom. Building strong student/staff relationships can enhance motivation, engagement, and overall success. That in-person learning is something SUNY Polytechnic Institute Acting President Dr. Tod Laursen is 100% behind.
"It’s so important to be in-person again because it enables us, maybe as opposed to Hollywood squares, you know…think of yourself as a lecturer in front of a classroom. You know to really be able to look your students in the eyes and understand where they’re at with the material, and where they may need help."
While many colleges are requiring students and staff be vaccinated to attend in-person learning, those learning from home may encounter a different kind of illness. Hamilton College President David Wippman explains.
"We had put so much emphasis on protecting the health of our campus from COVID, and we didn’t fully anticipate the extent to which this would create social and psychological strains."
Remote learning is having an impact on more than college students. High School students seem to be academically prepared, but there’s a connection that can’t be made through a computer screen.
"They lost some social opportunities and I think in some ways that affected them even more than the loss of academic preparation, and so we’re finding that they’re maybe not quite as far along as some preceding classes in terms of things like conflict resolution and how to get along with each other, and just how to live together in a community."