Working to meet student needs amid the COVID outbreak

Photo of student Aubrey Smith
First-year student Audrey Smith is among those who received laptops to complete spring semester studies online.

One afternoon last week, Sarah Whiffen drove from her home to the Newark Campus Center to deliver laptops to two students.

She parked and waited in her vehicle. When they arrived, she placed the boxed devices on the sidewalk nearby and stepped aside – in strict adherence to social distance guidelines – so the students could collect the devices, one at a time.

Amid drastically changed working environments, FLCC faculty and staff have worked to not only transition to online instruction but also to ensure students’ needs are met.

Stories of outreach abound: Three weeks ago, as social distancing suggestions turned into business closures and stay-at-home recommendations, staffers Sara Iszard, Teresa Daddis and Jan Kerrick made the rounds at the Suites at Laker Landing and nearby rental sites. They knocked on doors, checking on students and helping them plan for what was to come. They and several colleagues worked behind-the-scenes, packing bags of non-perishables from the FLCC food pantry and delivering to the dozens who’d indicated they’d otherwise be without. Student Life staff complemented their efforts with bags filled with snacks and games.

Outreach efforts have been guided by surveys and the interactions like those spearheaded by Student Affairs staff. In the weeks ahead, they will continue, informed by surveys and an initiative to call every student.

Roughly 85 students indicated in surveys conducted last month that they needed a computer to complete their courses online. The Information Technology Division responded with the purchase of over 100 laptops, loaded with basic software. As of last week, about 50 had been mailed to the students overnight or handed out by Sarah, Jan or Janette Aruck at the main campus.

Meanwhile, last week, Sara continued to ensure the dozen or so students remaining at Campus Gate had food. She and colleagues have braved multiple grocery stores to keep up with the demand, but the FLCC student food cupboard is depleted. Community members can help restock it and help students faced with other emergencies by making a contribution to the COVID-19 Emergency Response effort by clicking here.

Author: Jessica Youngman

Jessica Youngman is the public relations and events coordinator for Community Affairs. Reach her at (585) 785-1221 or Jessica.Youngman@flcc.edu.

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