Elmira College offering financial help for students impacted by COVID-19, preparing to reopen for Fall 2020 semester

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Elmira College is offering support for their students whose education was financially impacted by the coronavirus.

The college has received about $450,000 in emergency aid from the Department of Education to help support students who experienced extra costs due to the virus.

“They might have had to buy some computer equipment, that would qualify, and if they have some particular issues at home because they’re living at home those also would be expenses that would be covered,” said Elmira College President Charles Lindsay.

“It can be used for anything that is due to the displacement from campus.”

The college also raised about $10,000 through an online fundraiser called Elmira Everlasting. A majority of the money raised will go towards the college’s Extraordinary Circumstance Fund to help students with financial needs.

The application for these funds will be made available online later this week.

Elmira College is also preparing to have students back on campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Due to coronavirus-related restrictions, about 13 students remain on campus and are receiving boxed meals from the college, but Dr. Lindsay is excited to get more students back in dorms.

“We want to be able to reopen campus in the fall, so we are looking at protocols to put in place and following health official guidelines, but we really want to be able to offer the kind of robust campus experience that we have had in the past and it looks like we have a path forward to do that, so I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll be up and running by the fall.”

Potential guidelines that might be instituted include single-student door rooms, smaller class sizes, and expanded online learning to curb large gatherings.

“There may be more single (rooms) than in the past, there would be a limit on public gatherings so there’s a certain class size, so that anything above it, you would be offering a virtual experience.”

The college is awaiting guidance from the Council of Independent Colleges regarding those limitations.

In the meantime, Elmira College remains on standby and in contact with Arnot Health to potentially serve as an overflow facility for COVID-19 patients. Due to the relatively low number of COVID-19 patients in Chemung County with currently just three patients hospitalized, Dr. Lindsay doesn’t expect that option to be used.

“Fortunately what I understand is that Chemung County is doing pretty well so we probably won’t have to provide that kind of service but we’ve been in touch and we stand ready.”

Earlier this year the college collected over 400 lbs of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves from their science department and donated it first responders in New York City.

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