How HBCUs are Responding to Shutdowns
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, HBCUs are working diligently to safeguard the health of their students, faculty and staff. Each HBCU continues to do the best they can to adjust to the multitude of challenges created by COVID-19 and helping students and staff balance health and academic goals during this time. The ongoing impact of the coronavirus is putting increased demands on all of us, and HBCUs are doing their best to offer flexibility in dealing with the disruptions students are facing.
The first order of business for all HBCUs is to ensure that everyone is healthy and safe. This has necessitated campus closings and finding new ways to pursue academic excellence. Many, if not all, HBCUs have instituted emergency funds to support students who were not able to return home and were left without a place to live or any means of financial support for basic necessities. In some cases, schools are also providing meal delivery for students in need.
In this unfolding health crisis, all HBCUs have made the switch to remote classes. It’s been an adjustment for students and faculty. Several schools are making arrangements to accommodate students without access to a computer or internet service. Many schools are working on assisting students without access to computers or internet service so they can continue their studies.
The economic impact of the crisis is significant for everyone, including schools, that were already underfunded. Many people have lost their jobs or are worried that the situation will greatly affect their future employment and income. Understandably, families are looking for opportunities to save and are inquiring about refunds for a variety of school-related expenses. And HBCUs, just like many other colleges and universities across the country, are working with families to resolve these issues. UNCF is also working to assist our member HBCUs to try to help with these unexpected expenses for both the institution and their students.
Schools also recognize the emotional toll this is taking on the entire community—anxiety, sadness, confusion, isolation, fear—and many have made arrangements to provide support. They are also encouraging students to stay engaged with friends, faculty and advisers.
We are thankful for all the additional efforts our member HBCUs continue to make to ensure stability for their communities. We have every confidence that our HBCUs will remain strong in the face of adversity and take any measures necessary to keep everyone safe. Please check our website for updates, as well as individual UNCF-member HBCU websites, to stay informed and pledge your support, if you can, to help them meet the expanded financial demands the situation has caused.