Q&A: University spokesperson on how COVID-19 is affecting K-State

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Jeff Morris, vice president for Communications and Marketing: “There will be some students that we are going to continue to house because they don’t have somewhere else to go or they have special circumstances. Our plan right now is most of those students will be located in Jardine Apartments where we have some capacity. So, we don’t intend to have people housed in the dorms after March 30.”

Peter Loganbill, Collegian News Editor: “What’s going on with the dining halls now? Are students going to be able to eat there?”

Morris: “Right now we have limited services [in the dining halls] for those students that are still housed. What’s going to happen, when they close the residence halls, they will cease to operate the dining halls. However, students that we’re moving into Jardine, we will be able to provide food for, and they’re working through the logistics on that.

“I know the students that we quarantined, for example, when they moved in, we had a week’s worth of food already in the apartments. So we do have ways to make sure that those students that we need to take care of will be fed and taken care of in this time.”

Loganbill: “I know that faculty is taking this week to start transitioning classes to more of an online platform. What’s the situation looking like for them now?”

Morris: “They’re moving very quickly on this, for some it’s easier than others, as you know. The ones having more of a challenge are those that have requirements, like for example, in architecture planning and design, where students are doing their studio projects, and their deliverable is this three dimensional thing. So everybody’s, they’re working on that very quickly.

“From what I’ve heard, we have a meeting every morning, with an academic continuity workgroup, and the reports I’m hearing are that things are moving very quickly, and everybody’s adapting, some of them are going to go to old school methods, some of them will move stuff online. And that’s where that’s what people are working on.

“So, we have a long tradition at K-State of what we call correspondence courses where we used to teach at a distance for a long, long time, many years, and we’re dusting off some of those old techniques and saying, ‘okay, we know how to do this, and now we just got to break it out.’ So, I would say that the faculty response has been overwhelmingly positive. I would say there’s a lot of concern for making sure that our students are getting the quality of education they deserve.”

Loganbill: “What would you say to a student who is trapped in their house, they feel like the whole situation is never going end, they just feel hopeless right now in some way?”

Morris: “Keep the faith and remember that the K-State family’s out here. We’re all going through the same thing. It’s a shared experience. So, people don’t need to feel alone, they need to reach out. If someone’s really struggling, we’d like them to call the Student Access Center or reach out to counseling folks. They’re very aware that people may have some challenges with this from a mental health standpoint.”

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I'm Pete Loganbill and I'm the News Editor for the Collegian and host of the Collegian Kultivate podcast! I spent two years at Johnson County Community College, and I am now a senior in Public Relations at K-State. I believe constant communication leads to progress, no matter how difficult a comment may be for me or anyone to hear. Contact me at ploganbill@kstatecollegian.com.