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LifePrep@Naz students stay the course with virtual learning

Published April 14, 2020

LifePrep@Naz students are an integral part of the Nazareth College community and they are showing their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The LifePrep@Naz program has moved online, mirroring the move to distance learning that our matriculated Naz students are experiencing. LifePrep students are continuing their learning virtually with a daily Zoom meeting with LifePrep teacher Melyssa Mantell, who is a Victor Central School District teacher and an adjunct professor in Nazareth's School of Education.

Created through the collaborative relationship among Nazareth College, Victor Central School District, and The Arc of Monroe County, LifePrep@Naz is an innovative program designed to provide individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with a college experience.

Each weekday morning, Mantell gathers the LifePrep students via Zoom for an hour beginning at 9 a.m. and then again via a recorded video lesson from 10:30 a.m. - noon. The students are able to continue their usual routine of their morning meeting, review the prior lesson, and then ask questions to her. There is an assignment given every day, which provides learning, structure, and consistent check-ins with the students.

This successful pivot is important because disruptions due to the pandemic are magnified for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). They can experience higher rates of anxiety and depression, and have a higher chance of losing the life skills they've worked hard to achieve.

Mantell says LifePrep@Naz is going strong. "The students tell me that the Zoom meeting in the morning is the highlight of their day. Students are doing their homework and are even taking notes from the Moodle (class learning software) class. They are doing well!"

The LifePrep completion ceremony is postponed and will be rescheduled once Nazareth sets a new date for its commencement.

For More Information

Julie Long | Chief PR Officer, | (585) 389-2456 |


Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.