The BDN is making the most crucial coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact in Maine free for all readers. Click here for all coronavirus stories. You can join others committed to safeguarding this vital public service by purchasing a subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.

Unity College will explore selling its main campus and assets and switch to an education model that focuses more on online and distance learning, school officials said Monday.

The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has expedited plans to transition to what officials are calling a “fully hybrid” model, Melik Peter Khoury, president of Unity College, said. 

But the move is not just a reaction to the pandemic, he added. 

“It is a critical next step in helping Unity College thrive and better serve our students in the 21st century, while happening to create a model that is relatively pandemic-proof,” he said. 

Hybrid education is intended to allow students to complete their degrees while they pursue internships and job opportunities. Students can pursue their educational goals from anywhere amid unprecedented events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The school will continue to offer distance education and remote-learning opportunities at locations around Maine, including Unity College Sky Lodge in Jackman and the coast of Acadia National Park.

Unity College enrolls fewer than 1,000 students, but its main campus has been an important part of this small farming community in western Waldo County for more than 50 years.