Businesses offer students resources amid move to remote learning

3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago Sunday, March 15 2020 Mar 15, 2020 Sunday, March 15, 2020 1:39:00 PM CDT March 15, 2020 in News
By: Claire Colby, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA —On March 13, schools across the UM system announced a move to remote learning for the rest of the semester. Campus facilities like dorms, libraries and dining halls will remain open, according to an email signed by UM system president Mun Choi and chancellors of the individual universities. 

“We are taking this action with an abundance of caution for the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors,” the email said. “There are many aspects of this plan that will continue to require ongoing extraordinary efforts from our university community, as well as our students and their families. Our universities will be communicating regularly as we work to ensure teaching, research and health care operations continue throughout the UM System.” 

Students from Stephens College and Columbia College are also currently offered online classes. 

As students shift plans, businesses are offering resources to help with the transition. 

Moving and storage facility U-Haul is offering students 30 days of free storage, according to the company’s website. Students must show a college ID. 

“We don’t know how every student is affected,” UHaul president John Taylor said in a statement on the company’s website. “But we know they are affected. More and more universities are giving instructions to leave campus and go home. Students and their parents are in need of moving and storage solutions. We have the expertise and network to help, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” 

The 30 days of free self storage is an offer typically extended to communities affected by a natural disaster, and this is the first time that U-Haul has extended the offer company wide, according to its website. 

Frontier Airlines is offering a “students fly free” promotion to students with a valid ".edu" email address. Students must buy tickets before March 20, according to the airline’s website. 

Enterprise Rental Cars is also decreasing its minimum age to rent a car from 21 to 18, and waiving the additional fee usually charged to renters under the age of 25. 

“We want to do whatever we can to make this unprecedented situation easier for students and their families,” said Enterprise Holdings executive Will Withington in a statement on the company’s website. “With an Enterprise Rent-A-Car location within 15 miles of 90% of the U.S. population, we’re in range of nearly every college campus in the country and able to help students get wherever they need to go.”

As classes move online, internet provider Spectrum announced it would provide 60 days of free broadband and wifi services to students without internet access. 

"As the country works collaboratively to contain this pandemic, broadband internet access will be increasingly essential to ensuring that people across the country are able to learn and work remotely, that businesses can continue to serve customers, and that Americans stay connected and engaged with family and friends," Spectrum's parent company, Charter Communications, announced in a statement. 

MU has not made a decision yet regarding final exams and commencements. The university said it will communicate those decisions once they are made. 

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