Dr. David G. Horner: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation of businesses and institutions

Dr. David G. Horner: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation of businesses and institutions


The American College of Greece (ACG) experienced the radically disruptive impact of COVID-19 in our three education divisions – Pierce, Deree, Alba – each of which serves a distinctive set of constituents. The educational delivery model for each division was transformed “overnight” to “distance learning”, while following carefully the requirements established by governments (Greek and U.S.) as well as national and international accrediting and quality assurance agencies.

Study abroad students (mainly from the U.S.) were quarantined after two students tested positive for COVID-19, then safely relocated back to their home countries to complete remotely their Deree spring semester studies.

We do not expect to regain our full complement of study abroad students (approximately 10% of Deree’s under­graduate enrollment) until spring 2021 at the earliest. Recently, Pierce students returned to classroom-based instruction but with numerous social distancing and other safety precautions prescribed. Alba students will complete their term in June without disruption through synchronous, online instruction using Zoom technology. Through the exceptional cooperation, dedication and creativity of faculty, staff and students, ACG managed to contain the virus in our community, to keep our educational programs moving forward, allowing students to progress in their educational goals, and, in the process, expose both students and faculty to new learning modes that represent new skill sets that will serve them well in the future.

The factors that will determine the dynamics of the recovery

Living in the current COVID-19 reality (first wave, testing roll-out, vaccine and treatment in development) in anticipation of future realities (additional waves, influenza interaction, effective vaccine and treatment) requires alternative scenario planning and operational agility. Within the parameters set by the government, our preference is to return as much and as soon as possible to face-to-face instruction and the robust set of programs that support student development inside and outside the classroom. ACG also serves thousands of individuals annually in community outreach, professional and executive education programs that entail close interpersonal contact. Our ability to engage our constituents in familiar and preferred ways will depend on the complex set of factors just cited as well as the feelings and dispositions of parents and students who are still processing this sudden new reality.

The opportunities that will help to keep the Greek market prospect alive

Greece has been justly praised for the results to date in the first phase of the global pandemic. As Greece returns to more normal engagement and welcomes tourists, it faces the challenge of maintaining this superior performance by striking a delicate balance between the imperatives of public health and a healthy, sustainable economy. ACG is committed to supporting this quest through the resources being developed through our ACG 150 Strategic Plan, specifically, our Institute of Public Health, Institute for Market-Based Economics and Institute for Hellenic Culture and the Liberal Arts. Initiated prior to the onset of COVID-19, this multi-faceted plan has become all the more urgent as Greece seeks to regain its economic momentum and as the College continues to position itself for greater economic and social impact in the Year of the Virus and beyond.


The American College of Greece is a private, not-for-profit educational institution, with a 145 year-long history. It consists of three educational units, Pierce Gymnasium and Lyceum-IB, Deree, and Alba Graduate Business School. In the context of its mission to provide equal access to educational opportunities, ACG offers annually more than 6 million Euros through its scholarships and financial assistance program.

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