How college students, staff are handling COVID-19 transition

WILLISTON, N.D. - Many college students have packed up and left for home due to schools transitioning from on-campus to online classes. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a priority, but that doesn’t make the abrupt ending any easier for students and faculty.

The campus of Williston State College is quiet, but for some students, going home isn’t a possibility right now.

WSC Student Affairs VP Kaylyn Bondy said, “Some of them are maybe unable to transition home or are international, so we do have a group of students that are still living here on campus with us.”

“We’re finding things to do together,” said WSC Sophomore Jordan Kulczyk. “We had a movie night last night and kind of getting out and doing things. We went out for ice cream. So just kind of finding the things that you can do with each other. It’s been fun just having those last moments with everyone.”

Not having face-to-face interactions as well as cancelling the graduation ceremony is difficult for everyone.

Kaylyn Bondy added, “Graduation is a time of celebration, and many of our students have worked with us for years to complete these things. So It isn’t something that I think is easy for any of us; our students our staff, our faculty. We work to be able to see the success of our students.”

Keeping people off campus to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is a priority, so the school is planning an online commencement ceremony, which is fitting because now, everything is done virtually.

WSC Academic Affairs VP Kim Wray stated, “Anything that they would normally do in the classroom, they’re doing online, and then any of their labs they’re converting to online. Nursing is a good example. We are not doing clinicals in the hospital right now, but we are still able to complete our clinicals doing some simulations and small group stuff.”

A lot of good has come out of the transition. Staff say the one-ness of the community, flexibility of faculty, and tenacity of students is inspiring.

WSC is still working on a refund policy for room and board. The bookstore made arrangements with its cap and gown vendor to coordinate returns, refunds, and order cancellations. WSC’s workforce training campus, TrainND Northwest, now has online courses.