WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - Colleges around Region 8 continue to adjust to the effects of COVID-19.
Williams Baptist University moved classes to an online-only format last month. Some students have been moving out of their dorms this week.
President Dr. Stan Norman says it has been difficult, but the family atmosphere helps them stay strong during this tough season.
“We really are like a family, and that is a core component of who we are and how we do what we do,” Dr. Norman said. “That relationality; that personal interaction, the community-building we experience here on this campus has been disrupted.”
Dr. Norman says it’s sad knowing that classes won’t meet in-person, although he is thankful that the school was prepared.
Williams Baptist provided iPads and other technology to every student starting last year.
Despite this, Dr. Norman said that the hardest part is not the move to online lectures, but watching the students move out.
“The feeling that [students moving out] creates for our few people that are here… it’s kind of sad,” Dr. Norman said. “But, we’re not overwhelmed with that sadness because we’re anticipated a day when [the students] are all moving back... it’s going to be a celebration.”
Despite an empty campus, the community is sticking close together. Dr. Norman praised the staff for going above and beyond the call of duty to keep the community strong. In fact, professors and other faculty members are making phone calls to all students to make sure their needs are met.
Dr. Norman is planning for students returning to campus by next fall. He stated that he couldn’t imagine not having their life as they normally would by the fall, but they are going to have a better idea by the middle of May.
“Hopefully, when we come out on the other side, and we will, our faith will be stronger, we’ll be more committed to our mission, and we’ll have a better sense of wisdom on how to advance our mission,” Dr. Norman said.