Fall course delivery finalization leaves some students feeling conflicted

Article Originally Published by Makayla Herron on North Texas Daily

Fall course delivery plans were finalized on July 10, with most classes held in person or with in-person components, leaving some students conflicted about what their courses will mean for their safety and learning experiences.

The university announced in an official notice, 58% of courses will be in-person or a combination of in-person and online and 44% of courses will be online.

“We know that students want to have options — some of you want to get back to campus learning as soon as possible while others prefer to learn remotely,” President Neal Smatresk said in the notice.

There are several methods for delivery of instruction, which include completely online, completely remote, partially remote, partially online or fully on site. The difference between online — denoted as INET — and remote is online courses were traditionally online and remote courses transitioned to an online format. Both online and remote, however, may have set times for online participation.

“If all classes were to be online and I could complete all my work on my days off or before/after work that would be the best option for me and a bunch of my friends,” mathematics sophomore Jonathan Palma said. “This whole thing of having in-person classes makes everyone’s schedules difficult and, not to mention, it puts everyone’s health in danger.”

Marketing senior Kortnie Gohl said she doesn’t feel comfortable attending in-person classes with the active COVID-19 cases on campus. The North Texas Athletics Department reported nine active cases as of July 18.

“I wish [the university] had taken their students into more consideration when making the schedule and doing what’s best for us,” Gohl said. “I think everything should be online for the safety of our students, faculty and their families.”

According to an Axios/College Reaction COVID-19 poll, 66% of college students said they will attend in-person classes if they have the option.

Pyschology sophomore Shayla Anderson said she has mixed feelings about her courses being online.

“I’m happy UNT is taking in consideration of our health,” Anderson said. “But personally, I hate having my classes online. … I completely understand why it’s necessary with a pandemic happening, but I am bummed.”

Although the poll indicated 71% of students would not attend sports games and 79% would not attend parties, Palma worries about his health and safety without knowing what students or professors do before or after class.

“For all I know someone could have gone to a party or to the pool and completely disregarded the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines,” Palma said. “With that taken into account, there could be someone in one of my three classes that caught the coronavirus at one of those events but be asymptomatic.”

Smatresk also said in the notice he anticipates the spring semester to proceed normally and the fall will pose challenges as the pandemic evolves.

“As we move through the fall, UNT will remain flexible and continue to work with our faculty, staff and students as needed,” Smatresk said. “We understand that it will be important for our community to be agile as we strive to keep you safe and healthy.”

Students can still register for fall semester courses through Aug. 20.

Featured Image: Students work on laptops in the Union Starbucks on March 27, 2019. Course delivery for fall has been finalized with 44% being remote or online, and a majority of classes being held in-person. Image by Samuel Gomez

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Source: North Texas Daily