COVID-19 and POE

September 23, 2020
Like everyone else POE has been impacted by the pandemic. Thanks to our terrific students and volunteer mentors we've all been able to work together to keep our students in school and progressing toward their degrees. 

In March when schools were closing and transitioning to online classes,  many of our students and their parents were suddenly out of work.  In response, POE instituted a COVID Relief program.  Our mentors reached out to all of our students and let them know that if they, or their family needed some emergency support so they could continue their education, that POE could help.  The board approved use of up to $25,000 from our endowment to support our students and their families. So far, thirteen mentors asked for support for a student and we were able to help all of them within just a couple days of the request. 
As our students return to school this fall, the vast majority of them are attending classes online.  Many more students are living at home, some paying rent, some not.  We’ve changed some of our policies and are helping students buy computers, update their wifi or hotspots and create a space at home where they can study effectively.  We are more flexible that we were in the past about helping out with living expenses if students are living at home.  We supported some students who couldn’t find a summer job and opted to take summer classes and maybe graduate early. 
For our new students, we held all of our interviews over Zoom and had our “awards BBQ” over Zoom as well, but without the BBQ part. We selected 31 new students from the peninsula, 5 from the mid-atlantic and 4 for our community college transfer program.  We hope that next June we will be able to have an in person BBQ with all this year’s and next year’s students.  
Although Covid-19 has changed all of our lives, it hasn’t changed the goals for our students. POE students have always been resilient and determined and the pandemic is not going to stop any of them from achieving their goals.

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