CMU is also looking to the future, considering how it might adapt Scout for the fall, when many students will be vaccinated, and if they can use their new tools to slow the spread of other infectious diseases, such as influenza. “We were in touch with Fathom a few days ago dreaming about what the long game was like,” said Dr Bronson.
With the graduation ceremony scheduled for this weekend, Mr. Marshall, the future president of CMU, is delighted with how the past year has unfolded. “I consider it a success and not a small success,” he said. “I think we will consider this year as one of those defining moments for our university.” Yes, they had cases of Covid-19, he said, but they also had 881 freshmen who were the first in their families to go to college – who could in fact go to college.
“It was never a question of how to stop a virus?” Mr. Marshall said. Instead, he says, the challenge was, “How are you handling life while dealing with a pandemic?” And in that regard, I would say we did a job as hard as anybody else.
Lucas Torres, a biology major who graduated on Saturday, was initially nervous about returning to CMU during a deadly pandemic. And it had turned out to be an extremely difficult year for him: During the winter break, he and several members of his family had all had Covid-19. Her mother developed pneumonia and her grandmother died of the disease.
The school had turned out to be a bright spot. Mr Torres was “inspired” by CMU’s response, he said: “It gave students a purpose. There was a responsibility, a shared responsibility that came back to the campus.
Shortly after recovering from Covid-19, he proposed to his girlfriend. (She said yes.) He’s about to take his EMT certification exam and hopes to go to medical school.
“I was able to make the most of my time at CMU, and I’m glad they made it possible,” said Torres. “Even though it wasn’t the same as if it wasn’t Covid, it was better than staying at home in front of a screen.”