Dr. Anne Kress participated in a 75-minute panel hosted by the National Press Club on Thursday, May 28. “Education through the COVID-19 Crisis” was moderated by Bloomberg Government Congressional and Campaigns Reporter Emily Wilkins. Other panelists were Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami Dade Schools and Carissa Moffat Miller, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Wilkins asked panelists how they will open schools and protect the health and safety of students and staff; what lessons they have learned about communicating with stakeholders during such an unprecedented health crisis and how the pandemic has affected school budgets.
Kress, who is also co-chair of the VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois’s Post-Pandemic Taskforce offered leadership insights into the many safety protocols the college has taken to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff during the crisis and how the college has upheld its commitment to student success as the nation’s second largest community college abruptly switched from in-class to remote learning and telework.
“I think the takeaway for us has really been the equity implications of the virus, it hasn’t created them – what it has done is illuminate them,” said Kress. “Two-thirds of NOVA’s students are part time. They work to afford college. We are a community college, we are affordable. But many of their jobs have disappeared overnight. Today, another set of unemployment data was released, and the scale is unimaginable.”
She continued, “What we are really looking toward, and what keeps me up at night, is thinking about how we serve the students from NOVA who need the most services from our institution; for whom our college was really that grounding foundation, that structure that kept things moving forward? How do we serve them going into another academic year? If there is one thing that we will change, it’s the notion that we need to become much more of a 24/7 institution; to recognize that the lives of students and their own families are really taking precedent at this moment. We need to be there for when our students need us most.”
Panelists agreed that the continuity of learning must continue. Whether in the classroom or through remote learning, the opportunity gaps amongst students that were prevalent before the pandemic are now worse, and students with disabilities will need further services beyond Zoom and adaptive technologies as distancing is the opposite of what children with disabilities need. Educators, above all, value the connection of emotional and social support that they are able to provide in the classroom, and they are working diligently to combat the feelings of disconnect during this period of remote learning.
To view the ‘NPC Newsmaker Education Through COVID 19 Crisis’ video event in full, watch below:
National Press Club Media Contact: Lindsay Underwood at email@example.com
NOVA Media Contact: Hoang Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.