Click of a mouse, clack of a keyboard: these noises have now become synonymous with the 2020 Spring semester at Otterbein University as students moved their academic pursuits off-campus and into their homes.
With the growing spread of the COVID-19 virus, Otterbein made the tough decision to send all students on campus home and begin online distance-learning beginning with the official announcement March 17.
“We were really hoping, slim hope we realized, that we could be back together in person this semester, but it is increasing clear that this is not going to happen.”
That’s University President John Comerford addressing the campus community in a video update on his Twitter account, @otterbeinpres.
“We’ll be doing that unfortunately for the rest of the semester. So we will miss you but it seems unavoidable at this point that that’s how Spring 2020 is going to go.”
Students resumed their coursework from remote locations, many choosing to head back home with their parents to carve out a workspace among their family also working from home during the statewide response.
Junior nursing student Elise Schneller returned to her home in Radnor, Ohio, just northwest of Delaware.
“As you can tell, Ohio is currently under a lockdown, but that’s not stopping us from doing our work from home.”
In a video update on how students are adjusting to their new classrooms, Schneller gives a quick tour, a look inside her house, complete with mom working from a reclining chair, dad and brother taking refuge in the basement to complete their work and the family French bulldog offering moral support.
Schneller says despite the brief interruption of the semester she and her fellow students haven’t lost any ground.
“We’re doing great actually. We’re taking part in our online classes through Blackboard Collaborate, we’re catching up on our sleep, we’re doing any extra homework and exercising when we can. My dog also followed us down in case you couldn’t tell.”
The Ohio Athletic Conference, Otterbein’s conference for all Division III sports, decided to end the Spring season and canceled all post-season play on March 12, coinciding with other NCAA shutdowns.
Dressed in his 2020 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship t-shirt, senior distance runner and Actuarial Science Mathematics major, Jacob Thompson records a video update from his, according to him, own private and quiet home office.
“Yes, things are going well. It’s obviously an adjustment, but not just for us but our professors as well.”
Even with his season ending sooner than he expected, Thompson still has the student-athlete mentality that applies to these ever-changing situations.
“Work hard, be patient, be positive, keep your head-up. We’re going to get through this. Norman Vincent Peale said: “change your thoughts and you can change your world.” So stay on the grind and finish out the semester strong. Good luck.”
For everyone at Otterbein, the changes have been many, the outcomes uncertain and the timeframes have varied. But through all of this, as President Comerford said in an email to campus, “Through all of this, Otterbein faculty, staff and students are still looking for ways to help, and keep spirits high. Thank you. Those words don’t fully articulate what I want to say, but they’re the best I have.”