President Walsh spoke with FOX8 about how the college has handled COVID-19 and issues that have to be addressed to safely bring students, faculty and staff back to campus this fall.
Here is an excerpt:
GREENSBORO, N.C. — With COVID-19 affecting black people at alarming rates, health safety is a major priority for HBCUs like Bennett College.
After spending a lot of time and resources reviving the school during this transition period, leaders are refocusing on the virus.
“This is no joke,” President Suzanne Walsh said.
There’s a lot of questions that are still needing answers.
“Do we have enough access to testing? In the spring we ordered 10 test kits and we received one. Do we have the ability to isolate and/or quarantine and treat,” Walsh said.
With 266 students enrolled at Bennett College, the safety of students goes beyond social distancing in the classroom.
“Our student to faculty ratios 5 to 1 so super easy,” Walsh said.
But what about the dorms and in the cafeteria? Those plans still need a lot of work. Walsh and her team are working through whether students will be learning remotely or in person this fall.
“We do have a larger portion of faculty students and staff that have those underlying vulnerabilities — like are we ready,” Walsh said.
Coronavirus has already affected student enrollment and finances at many colleges and universities across the country. USA Today reported that HBCUs have struggled the most to recover.
“Those issues in some ways are exacerbated but we were prepared because these are the things we’ve been focused on,” Walsh said.