By Dr. Jim Shaeffer

Listen to this op-ed

YES! Your Eastern Shore Strong

It has been an extraordinary several days and we’ve found ourselves having to make extraordinary decisions.  This has been true for your Eastern Shore Community College.  

Our initial response to the COVID 19 crisis was extending our spring break for an extra week, that is until March 20.  During that week we spent time planning and preparing for our next steps in responding to the crisis.  

We moved most of our courses to remote delivery and started those classes on March 23.  At that time, we made the decision that we could best respond to the coronavirus by having faculty and staff work at a distance.  All faculty and staff were asked to begin teleworking as of 1:00 p.m. on March 24.  

I am very happy to report that students are taking classes, faculty are providing learning opportunities for their students and the services of ESCC are very much available by phone, email, or on the web.

They say you learn a lot about people during times for crisis and let me tell you that I’ve learned that our faculty, staff, and students are nothing but resilient.  Students are finding new and different ways of accessing strong Internet signals.   

Our faculty have fully embraced remote teaching and learning and are finding new ways of teaching.  And our staff are keeping ESCC open for business utilizing multiple ways of communicating with students and others.  

I want to be clear, ESCC is open for business with our highest priorities of keeping our students and employees safe, assisting students to finish this semester, and advising and enrolling students for summer and Fall 2020.

What is most impressive about our students, staff, and faculty is how they’ve responded with their own YES!  That is Your Eastern Shore.  To a person they have adopted a YES! culture of hospitality, which is more than offering good customer service.  It is going the extra mile to better understand the needs of our students and our community and responding in a thoughtful and welcoming way.

ESCC employees continue to demonstrate a YES! culture of service.  With all that has happened the last several days, ESCC employees joined the Eastern Shore Foodbank in distributing food in the ESCC parking lot.  

In addition, many employees and their family members  – while keeping their social distance from each other and the residents – provided some needed cheer by painting on the outside windows of Heritage Hall to the delight of those inside,

This sense of service is also apparent in how they serve their colleagues, by being there for each other, offering encouragement and support.  It hasn’t been easy. And with the future still uncertain, we are sure to have challenges ahead of us. But we are persevering in our spirit of YES!

I have no doubt that what I see in my staff is a reflection of all of the Eastern Shore.  Those on the Eastern Shore are a group of individuals who are resilient and have immense capacity for serving others.

I want you to know that your Eastern Shore Community College is open for business and will continue serve the Eastern Shore during this crisis.  There is no doubt in my mind that we will come out of this experience a better college, even more in tune to the needs of the Eastern Shore.

We are, as one staff member said, YES! Your Eastern Shore Strong.