On Nov. 11, the Office of the President sent an email updating the student body on winter break departure. This email stated that administration was encouraging faculty to shift classes online and for students to leave campus as quickly and safely as possible.
The Office of the President sent out another email later that same day. The email included an attached course list outlining the classes that would be moving online. As of noon on Nov. 12, there were 29 classes that had no plans of moving online, some with optional online instruction.
According to the Office of Academic Affairs, there were several factors related to COVID-19 that led to the decision to urge professors to move classes online during the week of Nov. 9 to Nov. 13.
The decision to move online started with the significant increase of cases in Michigan and Calhoun County, which increased the likelihood of community spread in Albion.
“We received notice that local hospital facilities were nearing their available capacity limit for COVID-19 patients, which created additional risk for members of the campus community who might need hospitalization,” said Interim Provost Ron Mourad via email.
The Albion College community also saw an increase of cases during this week, causing many students to quarantine. Several essential support staff members were also associated with these quarantines, which caused a potential challenge to provide services to the student population.
“We did have several positive cases at Albion College the week of Nov. 9 to 13, and although we had the capacity to house those individuals in isolation, there were significantly more close-contact quarantines associated with these positive cases than there had been in past weeks,” said Mourad. “Quarantined students need support, and we had to be realistic about our capacity to provide it.”
While students still had a choice to stay on campus during this time, the Calhoun County Department of Public Health was struggling to keep up with the increase in cases across the county. Because of this, the college was encouraged to de-densify campus as fast as possible.
A day after the updated course list was released, the Office of the President decided to send students home by Saturday, Nov. 14, instead of letting them choose to stay.
“The Governor and the State Department of Health advised all colleges and universities to de-densify campuses as soon as possible to mitigate local risk and risk associated with travel and gatherings during the holidays,” said Mourad.