September 20, 2020 Mackenzie Holder 

COVID-19 Catch Up

As students, faculty and staff kick off a new school

year,despite the challenges of a global pandemic,

you can still feel the familiar excitement of being

back on campus and among the MVNU community.

Along with the traditional emotions that are part

of going back to school comes many new feelings

as the result of COVID 19 that unfortunately sent

us home unexpectedly in early March. Despite

challenges, we all did it. We finished up the school

year a little differently than we would have hoped;

but we succeeded, and most of us got to take a step

back and enjoy a somewhat different kind of summer.

However, among the many MVNU faculty and staff working during

the summer months, one person’s job in particular has been impacted

by the virus, and he has worked nonstop since the day we got sent home with one goal in mind, and that was to allow us to be back on campus this fall. 

In a recent  interview with Tracy Waal, Vice President for Student Life, who is the point person for COVID 19 at MVNU, he talked about the changes the university has made to allow students to be back and get the full college experience, even though it may look different than previous years. Waal has been working hard to make sure students feel like we are informed and have a good understanding of what is going on around us and on campus. From the very first day we stepped on campus in August, Waal has been saying the same thing -- “We can do this,” which has become his mantra as he addresses different groups of students.

 

When asked about some of the precautions being taken on campus, Waal explained that plexiglass barriers have been added all over campus, and nine tents have been placed in various spots to allow students to interact but still remain socially distanced. Recently the cafeteria has been reduced to one-fourth capacity to eliminate large groups of people gathering, gyms and workout areas will have limited access, and classrooms will be evaluated to allow six feet between each student. 

According to Waal, quickly after their return to campus this fall, students, faculty and staff showed interest in being updated on the number of COVID cases being reported. As a result, you can now go to mvnu.edu/stayinformed to see the number of active cases, the number of people being monitored, and total cumulative cases. Waal explained his biggest challenge during this pandemic “...the fact that everything is constantly changing from one day to the next can make it very difficult to make decisions. I go to bed thinking about COVID; and when I wake up, I have to rethink all of the things I had done the day before.”

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MVNU Cross Country Teams Approaching the Starting Line

 

It’s just about cross country time here at MVNU,

as both the men’s and the women’s teams are

getting ready to start their seasons. Head coach

Simon Taylor is looking forward to seeing the

improvements that have been made by the

athletes on the course. “Both of our men’s and

women’s teams got better from where we were last

year,” said Taylor. “Both teams should be good

this year; our men are young but have a lot of talent,

and our women have a nice mix of youth and senior

leadership.” That leadership is something that senior

Kayla Shackleford embraces. 

 

Even with the excitement and expectations, there have been some challenges trying to put together the teams. COVID has brought many challenges this year, which has led to finding a balance of safety and athletics. When speaking on the precautions the team will be making, Taylor said,  “Masks will be required on the bus rides, but not while our athletes are competing.It would be a safety hazard to have runners wear masks while they race.”

 

COVID presented additional challenges Coach Taylor had to face. “COVID made recruiting difficult,” Taylor said. “We were unable to have recruits on campus, which is normally a big part of the process.” Explaining the recruiting process, Taylor stated, “We were unable to attend track meets in the spring of this year, and normally I go to meets and watch recruits race.”

 

Coach Taylor is often faced with the question of why we never have home cross country meets. The simple answer is we do not have a home course here at MVNU. We only have away meets every year due to that reason. One good thing about away meets is the chance at making memories with your teammates. When asked what her favorite memory was from a meet, Shackleford has a hard time picking her favorite. “There are too many memories to choose from, but I’d say that our meet in Michigan with Aquinas College was so much fun and a lot of shenanigans happened on that trip,” said Shackelford.

 

As the sun sets on her cross country career, Shackleford offered advice to the underclassmen, “I would tell the underclassmen to cherish these days. Everyone says that these years go by quickly, and it’s true. Tthe miles are not going to be what you remember. The time spent laughing with your teammates, making ice cream runs after practice, team dinners, and everything in between will be what you’ll remember, so make sure to make the most of it and be fully present with them.”

September 20, 2020  Matt Harden 

800 Martinsburg Rd. Mount Vernon, OH 43050

lview@mvnu.edu

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