With concerns over COVID-19 persisting into summer break, Emporia State has lit up the fountain at Kellogg Circle in conjunction with the Plumb Hall star in a gesture of support for students and essential workers.

“President Garrett asked facilities to go ahead and light the star and the bridge,” said Gwen Larson, director of marketing and media. “Around March 27th, Jim Markowitz made the point that we’ve never had them on at the same time…The lights are going to stay on until campus is back to full capacity.

With social distancing concerns remaining despite some lifted restrictions on gatherings, Larson said Social Media has been a great source of inspiration from drive-by car parades to hanging holiday decorations to give community members something to look at, from a safe distance.

“It’s good to keep people's spirits up even if we can’t be all together at one place anymore,” Larson said. “(The campus is making) masks, swabs and viral transport media. The classrooms and labs had excess masks and goggles gathered up…even the art department had some N95 masks we could donate to the local hospital.”

Beyond the fountain, star and resource gathering, Larson said the college is doing all it can do to remind students that ESU is thinking of them.

“Anyone walking by campus has probably noticed it but we’ve lined the front side of Plumb and the west side of Cramer with the ‘ESU Proud’ signs in the windows,” Larson said. “We wanted to create a sense of solidarity that people could see from the street.”

According to Larson, graduating students did not get the much-needed closure that comes with end of the year activities like graduation and sports championships.

Students are not the only ones impacted by the sudden shutdown of schools. ESU alumni Shelli Page, now a second-grade teacher at Village Elementary, has also been impacted.

“At first, I did not know how to (teach online), I was terrified and super nervous,” Page said. “It took some getting used to but by the end it was nothing, just part of the routine.”

Page said that since she graduated in 2011 technology has rapidly changed, despite not being taught how to teach in an online format. 

“When I was in school technology just was not where it’s at now,” Page said. “They were just coming out with Promethean and Smart Boards, now they are obsolete…our students use chrome books and we use TVs in class to present. It is easier to teach when the kids are familiar with (the technology).”

With the school semester over for USD253 Page said she felt proud to see the community showing their support for teachers and students.

“You get a real sense of community when you drive by and see those signs and things like we are in this together,” Page said. “I’m not a big Social Media person, but I at least listen to the radio and I feel like that avenue is probably the best for (ESU) to go through as far as reaching out goes but I haven’t seen or heard anything.”

If you are not feeling well and are experiencing either coronavirus or flu symptoms, call (instead of visiting) the Student Wellness Center at 620-341-5222 or Newman Regional Health, 1201 W 12th Street, at 620-343-6800. 

Stay up to date: 

ESU’s COVID-19 page 

Kansas Department of Health 

Centers for Disease Control

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