Table of contents
Wellness

We are fully committed to maintaining our sense of community under these new circumstances. Because we are moving to online courses, we are suspending our campus-based services for spring term and cancelling programming that was planned for spring break. We plan to continue to meet student needs by offering programming and resources in new ways as we ensure that we have a supportive and engaged educational environment.

Student Life staff will continue to be available to students to advise and provide support, and to offer creative programming. We are talking with campus counselors about the possibility of offering mental health services by phone or video call, and we are actively exploring options for a virtual outing club, online wellness resources, social hangouts and virtual residence life offered by RAs. In addition, COA2 will continue to offer programming that will be available to all students. We are talking with the writing center, study skills person and others about academic support options.

We know that these decisions and changes are significant and disruptive to people’s spring plans. If individuals are having a hard time or finding that they are dealing with anxiety and increased stress, please reach out to:

Managing anxiety can be a challenge in times like these. Staying informed is important, but balance that with caring for yourself. If you find you are dealing with increased stress and anxiety as a result of COVID-19, consider limiting the amount of health-related news you are consuming, and make sure what you do look at is from a reputable source. As much as you can, do things that support wellness such as exercising, meditating, creating art, playing music, or connecting with friends and family by text, phone, Facetime, and other media. Treat yourself by taking a few minutes to do something restorative that gives you a little lift in energy or spirit. Employ distraction by getting lost in a book, taking a virtual museum tour, or finding a wildlife cam or videos of cute baby animals that you enjoy.
As always, please contact any member of the student life staff with questions. We are also still responding to the Student Life Emergency Line at 207-266-5890.   
  
Workstudy
Our goal is to offer and provide workstudy employment to all students who want to work, and we feel that this is something we can definitely accomplish, albeit with a little flexibility. We plan to provide as many positions as we can that will allow students to work remotely, while still providing limited on-campus employment to those living locally. It’s important to understand that this may mean some shuffling of assignments, due to individual department needs, but our intention is to keep this to a minimum to maintain as much stability as we can for each of you. 
  
Medical point person
We have appointed COA Director of Student Support and Wellness Barbara Conry as our medical point person for the reporting of COVID-19 symptoms. If you have or develop a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other relevant symptoms, please send Barbara an email explaining what your symptoms are and when they started. This will help us track potential exposure and work with state and local authorities to determine when notifications need to be sent. Contact your medical provider immediately if you have these symptoms.
 
Social distancing
Public health goals are to prevent rapid spreading of COVID-19 through social distancing, as the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in within about six feet from each other. Along with good hygiene practices, social distancing is considered the best practice for protecting our personal health, along with the health of the most vulnerable in our society. 
 
Many COA staff and faculty continue to work remotely. We are instituting social distancing practices for those who continue to work on campus, as well as Millard’s workstudy crew. Public spaces are now closed or are in the process of closing, including the library, museum, freebox, academic buildings, Deering Common, and TAB. Each of those areas are working to move their services online or to deliver them in new ways that reduces risk. Please email or call rather than go to any office in person. Only people required to be on campus because of work or living arrangements should be on campus.
 
There are things that each of us can do as well. Best practices state that individuals should remember the following:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick or feeling unwell
  • Maintain more than six feet of distance between yourself and others as much as possible
  • Limit the sharing of things like towels and utensils
  • Limit gatherings and use alternate methods for social connection (connection is still critically important for mental health, so let’s be creative— see below)

And the following guidance still applies:

  • If you are sick, stay home and cover your cough
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public space or after you cough or blow your nose
  • Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if hand washing is not possible
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
Travel
The college put the following restrictions in place for people planning to travel and those who have recently returned:  
  • If you leave the state after March 12, remain off campus for 14 days, beginning with the day you returned to the state.
  • If you have traveled and returned to the state within 14 days prior to March 12, remain off campus for 14 days after your return to the state, beginning with the day you return.
  • If you have not traveled, but are in close contact with someone who has traveled outside of the state, please practice social distancing, wash your hands, and limit all unnecessary contact with others while on campus.
  • If you have any reason to believe you have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to COVID-19, remain off campus for 14 days from the day you were in contact with that person.
Social connection and things to do while social distancing is in effect

All this talk of social distancing, self isolation, and quarantine can affect our mental health. This community is built on connections and relationships, and we can all be mindful about how we nurture those relationships, and build new ones, even if circumstances make it difficult or impossible for us to meet face to face. There have been some wonderful ideas for ways to connect and for things to do, so we’ve created a place where those ideas can be collected and shared. Please  use this Google doc  to share your ideas, sites, platforms, links, and more. We would love to have you populate it with thoughts around how to stay connected with and things that we can do to help each other stay engaged, active, and occupied while travel and in-person gatherings are curtailed.

COVID-19 emergency fund for students

In the wake of the necessary campus closure and move to online instruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, College of the Atlantic recognizes that some students may be experiencing financial hardships. Because some students may now find themselves without the resources they need to succeed, COA has set up a student emergency fund.

Who is eligible?* Enrolled students who find themselves in financial need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do you apply? Simply email to hardship@coa.edu  with “COVID-19 emergency fund” in the subject line. We ask that you write a statement explaining:

  • What your needs are
  • How much money you are requesting to meet these needs
  • When you would need funds
  • Any relative or supporting documentation or information you can provide to help us understand your situation

What scenario qualifies?* Maybe you find yourself needing to set up a reliable internet connection. Perhaps you need to get home and are waiting on funds to do so. Maybe you need to come up with first month, last month, and a security deposit for a rental. These are just a few examples, there may be more situations that qualify.

Deadline to apply? Open. We will accept and review requests on a rolling basis.

Other important information: This fund is specifically for students struggling as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is entirely separate from financial aid or credit balances. If you find yourself struggling as a result of another occurrence, you can reach out to the hardship@coa.edu  email and we may be able to work with you to advance a credit balance. If you and your family are now struggling to afford college as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, then you and your family may qualify for revisions to your financial aid package. Please contact Linda Black (lblack@coa.edu ) for more information, as financial aid may be able to help.

Other help out there: In addition to our in-house emergency fund, there are other groups out there who are helping students during this time. An organization called SAGE Scholars has opened their emergency funds to all students. If you would like to apply for their fund, please review the information found here , fill out the attached form found here , and send it back to lblack@coa.edu  – COA needs to submit it on your behalf.

*Note: Even if you do not fit these exact criteria, but have other compelling circumstances, please reach out and explain your situation as we may be able to help.