KEYSER - Although students have been off campus for five weeks now, the instructors and administrators of WVU Potomac State College have been working every day not only to keep in touch with the students but also to help them navigate the often rough terrain of unplanned online learning.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Although students have been off campus for five weeks now, the instructors and administrators of WVU Potomac State College have been working every day not only to keep in touch with the students but also to help them navigate the often rough terrain of unplanned online learning.
“A global pandemic certainly isn’t something any of us anticipated, but we are moving quickly to make the necessary adjustments to help our students be successful this semester and into the future,” stated a letter which went out  to Potomac State College students on March 26.  
Acknowledging that there was a large “learning curve” for both  instructors and students because they only had about one week, in addition to spring break, to transform from an in-person to an online educational experience, the college staff advised the students to stay in contact with their instructors via Zoom, eCampus, Google, or other electronic methods of communication.
Library staff remained on duty, taking calls from students on everything from class work to tech advice.
In addition, the Academic Success Center has been offering online tutoring and the Psychological Support Services is available for those either feeling the stress of completing their work in an entirely new environment or just finding difficulty in dealing with the unprecedented events of the world around them.
Of course, some students have been plagued by the lack of reliable internet, and the college responded by making hotspots available, and according to a spokesperson for the college, at least one student is completing his work by mail. 
Despite all the resources being offered, however, the administration at the college realized the stress of such a large upheaval in the learning process could very well play havoc with any student’s grades. In order to adjust for the expected adverse effects of closing the campus, certain changes were made to school policies for the semester, including allowing undergraduate  students to opt in to a “HP/P/F,” grading scale in which they would be given a High Pass (A, B, or C) or Pass (D), which will not affect their grade point average (GPA). 
Students whose grades might drop below a 2.0 GPA this semester will not be suspended, but rather placed on probation with the hopes that they can improve during the next semester.
Grade point averages will not be taken into consideration as a requirement for a student to keep their Promise or certain other scholarships, but rather a certain number of class hours will be required for renewal.
As for the students’ loss of the community they had found on campus for the first part of the year, they have the ability to reach out and reconnect with friends through the Catamount Clubhouse, a Zoom meeting available for all students to participate in every Friday. They can also play virtual bingo online every Thursday or voice concerns with Student Government members during their online meetings.
In addition, campus president Jennifer Orlikoff and others have posted video messages on Instagram, Twitter and other social media as a way of reaching out to the students and letting them know they are not alone.
“For some of you, this was probably a seamless transition, and yet for others it was probably a major undertaking. Either way, we are so proud of you,” Orlikoff said in her video.
“Hang in there and continue showing the Catamount spirit of grit and perseverance.”