Randolph College President Bradley W. Bateman sent this message of encouragement to students after their fourth week of online classes.
If someone had told you a year ago that something like the COVID-19 pandemic would happen here in the United States, I don’t think many of you would have believed it. But here we are—four weeks into online learning.
Some people like to say we are adjusting to a new normal, but I’m not sure I agree. Nothing about what is happening around us is normal, nor do we want it to be. But as we are forced to adjust to this uprooted lifestyle, what I do believe is that this situation has already taught us plenty of lessons. We are capable of more than we realize, and often, challenges make us stronger and better people. And sometimes, as I’m sure most of us have experienced, being without something we often took for granted makes us value it even more. I always knew how much I loved our beautiful campus, filled with the energy of our students, faculty, and staff. But walking around these halls and lawns without you here has made me appreciate our community—and family—even more. (Not to mention realize just how many squirrels and groundhogs we have on campus!)
I’m sure most of you are as eager to return home to Randolph as we are to welcome you back. While what happens in the future with COVID-19 is out of our control, at this point, we fully expect to be open for on-campus learning as scheduled for the fall. In fact, we have already begun making plans and doing the work necessary for this to happen. However, should the situation with COVID-19 worsen or change over the course of the coming weeks and months, I can assure you that we will be prepared for any eventuality. Our Coronavirus Task Force continues to meet daily, and we are keeping abreast of not only the current situation in our region and nation, but also the recommendations and guidelines that will affect us as an institution.
As we move toward the end of the semester, I encourage you to dig deep and finish strong. These are challenging times for all of us, but you have an entire community of people who believe in you and support you. That’s the Randolph way. And it will never change.
Bradley W. Bateman