Administrators at Goshen College decided Monday afternoon to close the campus after Gov. Eric Holcomb changed the limit on group gatherings to 50 and advised restaurants to end their on-site dining.
“Travel restrictions are increasing, and Gov. Holcomb has announced that dining-in at restaurants is no longer allowed. Therefore, we are taking some further actions today and this week to keep our community as healthy as possible while we continue our educational mission,” the college’s administration told students in an announcement.
On-campus classes were canceled beginning Tuesday. Instruction will resume Monday online, according to the statement. Coursework for the semester will be completed online. Training sessions for faculty will be held Thursday and Friday.
The letter also states residential students should begin to move back home or off campus and take their possessions with them. The deadline for students to move is noon Thursday. Students who are unable to move back home were told the residence life staff will work with them on solutions.
Because there may be financial implications due to the early release of students, the administration’s letter states those issues will be addressed in the future.
Spring sports and commencement have also been canceled.
As they moved out of their dorms Tuesday, a few students admitted the campus closure and move to online classes will be a challenge.
“I live somewhat close, only three hours away, so having to leave doesn’t affect me as much as it does international students,” student Ryan Glithero said. “But not being able to learn in a classroom setting is probably going to be a little bit of an adjustment going to online.”
The logistics of moving back home and then taking online courses was not an acceptable combination for student Oskar Sunderland.
“I am a little overwhelmed right now honestly and I am still trying to figure that out,” he said.
He lives on the West Coast and made the decision not to go home because the time change would mean he would be taking some online classes at 6:30 a.m. Instead he will be staying with relatives.
“I think that in regard to getting a major and finishing the year, it definitely shocked us all, but it also is not surprising considering the nature of the coronavirus.”
And then there is the newness of the online learning experience.
“It definitely will be an adjustment, because I have no idea how online classes work,” Sunderland said. “But I am sure the professors will be able to provide me with the resources necessary to do what I need to do.”
Goshen College has students in its Study-Service Term who are in Tanzania and Ecuador. Those students, according to the college’s statement, will be brought back to the United States as soon as possible.
In addition, international May term classes and summer SST opportunities will not be offered. Those educational opportunities included destinations in London, Spain, Nepal, Senegal and Ecuador. The fall SST classes in Indonesia and Ecuador are still scheduled.
“We understand that these decisions are disruptive and emotional,” the letter states. “In these unprecedented times, we will continue to work daily to do what is best for each of you, our community and the world.”