Photos courtesy of Andrew Nasser

By Alexandria Zine

The pandemic has caused many of life’s normal aspects to ebb, and the AMT (Aviation Maintenance Technology) has encountered this swiftly within the past week. A recent COVID-19 case within the program managed to truncate its flight in some ways. The program’s response to this has included quarantine for 14 days, which ended on November 9th, and to reasonably divide remote and in-person congregations while testing and tracing had been underway. Aside from the initial contraction of in-person collaborations within this program, this is the first official COVID-19 related shutdown since the transition to remote learning in March. Up until the consummate testing results had been procured, the three cohorts at the Plymouth Municipal Airport must remain separate and complete as much of their integral work as possible.

The prospective time frame of the program’s fall semester has not been adjusted considerably since the unexpected insertion of a COVID-19 case. The results of only a single, isolated COVID-19 case within the program has prevented any ancillary concerns that the members may have from being obliterated. The initial asperity of this situation has rearranged some of the course’s deadlines, but the foundational facets have and will not change, especially with the development that no novel cases are present. Despite not being able to enumerate the COVID-19 cases within the AMT program initially, Patrick Stone, the Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing, had not been unnerved at all by the cases given 4C’s ability to compensate for these setbacks. 

Stone had been right to have been wholly faithful in 4C’s management of this setback. “Operations in Plymouth resumed in full on Monday, November 9,” said Stone. “There were no additional cases of COVID-19 during the 14-day quarantine.” Prior to this news, Stone and the 4Cs faculty spent time to convince the community to trust in the process.

“We’re optimistic we’ll be open very quickly,” said Patrick Stone. “The process now is to wait for the contact tracing investigation to be completed by our local public health officials. If we find that everyone comes back with a negative test, we’ll be able to re-open before the end of the two-week quarantine period.”

The above-board plan of both the Dean of STEM, Donald Crampton, who is the current substitution for former Director Stan Mackiewicz, and Patrick Stone has enabled many AMT members to not become abruptly ambulant regarding their academic pursuit. According to Crampton, “…allowing them [the AMT members] to work in different hangars and stagger their online and in-person work” has retained the shape effectively. Regardless, students will need time to rebound from this auspiciously short delay. 

The aerodynamics of this program have not weakened, despite the constraints that a COVID-19 case has draped over students’ lives. “When we announced our plans for online, remote, and hybrid learning in the Spring semester,” said Stone, “we did so for this exact reason: to give ourselves time to develop thoughtful plans to keep the education process moving and to keep our College community safe.” Stone and Crampton acknowledge that students may feel inundated by the news of a COVID-19 case within their program, but that they have and are efficiently managing this disheartening and concerning predicament.

“Regrettably,” said Crampton, “the academic schedule of the present cohorts has been disrupted due to the pandemic, but the college remains committed to students being successful and finishing the program in an equitable amount of time.” According to Crampton, two out of the three cohorts at the Plymouth Municipal Airport are able to follow remote learning heavily, while the third group is not able to do so due to the process of this investigation and the exigency of respecting the wellbeing of others at this time. An additional and apropos compensation that has been made for the AMT’s members is the grant of an extension on their formerly rigid deadlines. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Crampton, “the FAA instituted an allowable amount of missed time that will be applied to make every effort to lessen the impact on students’ scheduled completion dates.”

For those who have remained concerned and dejected by the single COVID-19 case, Stone as well as Crampton suggest that students abide by the COVID-19 protocols, especially with the approach of the holiday season and the semester’s bulk being close to its completion. “To the rest of the College community,” said Stone, “we cannot stress enough the importance of following CDC recommendations for personal safety. Wear a mask whenever you are out, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and avoid large gatherings.” While many wait for closure on the number of infected AMT members and the collective outlook of this semester, it is incumbent to recall these significant and hygienic tasks.