From the Editor: This isn’t your average back to school issue

(Kristen Frier)

Every September, The Runner publishes a back to school issue to kick off the beginning of the fall semester. These issues usually contain a few articles about campus groups, handy tips, updates on any notable changes that happened over the summer, and previews of upcoming events to look forward to.

For students coming back from their summer break away from KPU, these issues mark a return to normalcy as we all adjust to a consistent work-study balance.

But this year, everything is different — well, almost everything.

The pandemic has changed the post-secondary world. Classes have moved online to maximize social distancing for staff, faculty, and students. In-person events have been cancelled. Campus culture and student life have become digitized as video conferences, virtual panels, and live-streamed performances. Thanks to COVID-19, university life is now a downloadable experience you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.

Things are different for us at the paper too. In March, The Runner began publishing stories exclusively online — something we haven’t done since the paper was first founded in 2007.

For the first time in over 10 years, our back to school issue won’t be on stands across KPU classes. Without students present on campus to pick up paper copies, there’s little reason to print and distribute issues every two weeks.

This doesn’t mean we aren’t producing news. While there will be a huge number of changes for students this year, we’re staying dedicated to providing the KPU community with the best news coverage possible. We’re the only publication in the world which specifically focuses on what goes on at KPU, and we’re proud of that.

For anyone taking all of their classes online this semester, we realize that The Runner may be one of the only platforms that provides you with a connection to your school community. This makes our job that much more important, and we’re looking forward to keeping you up to date on everything related to KPU while you adjust to taking classes from home.

If you do happen to be in one of the few classes that require your physical presence on campus, you’ll have to adjust to learning in smaller groups and adhering to new safety guidelines and protocols in the classroom. Keep in mind that this is a new experience for everyone involved, and KPU is working hard to ensure the health and safety of everyone on campus. This means that, like you and your student peers, staff, and faculty are almost certainly stressed out by moving their work online.

Please be patient with university staff and administration. This semester they’ll be responsible for organizing the remote education of tens of thousands of students spread across five separate campuses and a plethora of programs and courses. Many of them will be working from home, unable to see their colleagues in-person, or working in offices with strict safety guidelines which may impact their ability to work. As students, we should be considerate of that.

Please be patient with your instructors. By nature, some courses are more easily taught online than others. Some instructors may have never thought they would have to teach their courses online, and it might be an ever bigger learning curve for them than it is for you.

And finally, please be patient with yourself and your peers. If you struggle with online learning or miss the comfort of being able to see your friends at school, this semester might be harder for you. Just remember, if you’re experiencing difficulties in your studying, it’s not your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault, and this new iteration of post-secondary education is only temporary. It might take some time to adjust to, and that’s perfectly fine.

The pandemic has caused the upheaval of a system that has served us throughout recorded history. Getting used to that is an ongoing process, and it will continue to be until it is safe to convene in the classroom once again.

This semester might be a weird one, but we all have the power to do the best we can with what we’ve got. During a time when everything seems to be rapidly changing, our collective ability to show each other kindness is the one thing that will always stay the same.

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