Campus community adapts to in-person classes for fall 2021
Some students and faculty at Ithaca College have expressed varying levels of concern about the potential for the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom, as the college begins its to recover To in person Classes.
After the students were not allowed to return from Spring Break in the spring of 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19, classes continued remotely. Fall 2020 was completely remote with in line courses and spring 2021 was back in person but with hybrid courses. Most of the courses currently offered for fall 2021 are in person and works normally. Students wear masks but there is little to no social distancing in place and classrooms have regained full capacity after guidelines existed for both in place the previous semester.
Cyndy Scheibe, a professor in the Department of Psychology, said she is teaching three in-person classes this semester, two of which have around 90 students each.
Scheibe said she was not particularly worried about the spread of COVID-19, despite the lack of social distancing and the large number of students in her class because the student vaccination rates is so high, and all his students wear their masks correctly.
“To me, I feel like this is the best we can do, and I know my students learn best in person,” she said. “Is it ideal? No it doesn’t, but compared to learning on Zoom, I would definitely take it. “
Hybrid education is no longer officially offered this semester. However, some professors have made the decision to offer a hybrid option to their students or have switched to strictly online teaching. According to Homer Connect, 58 courses are taught online for the fall semester.
Ilya Rake said that one of his classes was being held online this semester, but that he chose the class because it was originally scheduled to take place in person. He said he was a very hands-on learner and didn’t feel like he had learned anything from his online classes last semester.
“It was such a muffled and toned down version of what I could have actually gotten if we had been in person and taken these classes in the usual way,” he said.
Some students and faculty have said they are concerned about the lack of social distancing in classrooms and the the use of the badge system for everyday health projections. There are currently 21 active student cases and one active employee case, according to college COVID-19 dashboard.
Junior Brianna Diaz said she has two online classes and three in-person classes. She said she only had one teacher who asked to see student badges on daily health exams, but was happy to be in person after feeling Zoom fatigue last semester. .
“It’s definitely comfortable at the moment,” she said. “I used to panic again because I was like ‘Oh my god’, you know we’re all in a classroom together, you know, a big conference room and we don’t socially distance ourselves.”
Belisa Gonzalez, a professor in the sociology department, said she always worries about her children at home, who are too young to be vaccinated, but don’t feel in danger of teaching in person this semester.
“I would just follow the science on this one, you know, if the recommendations of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] say we don’t need to be socially distant, then I’m ready to let them do their jobs, ”she said.
Gonzalez said she didn’t ask any of her students to show their green badges due to the time constraint of her 50-minute classes. However, she said she was ready to be open and flexible to policy changes during the semester.
“Safety should, you know, be the number one priority, and if the CDC changes its guidelines, I absolutely think we should come up with something else and I’ll be happy to adapt,” she said.
Junior Madeline Miele said two of the five courses she is taking this semester are online. She said that having a few more online classes has been nice to facilitate the return to in-person learning and that the two teachers do not currently live in Ithaca.
“It obviously stinks to be back and to have the campus almost open, subject to precautions,” Miele said. “But for these specific situations, it’s understandable, like they can’t control it.”
Praneeta Mudaliar, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, said she returned home to India in November 2020 due to a family emergency and plans to return the following summer. She said she was not allowed to return to the United States due to a travel ban from India which came into effect last spring and is currently teaching its courses online for the fall semester.
Mudaliar said students and green card holders from India are allowed to enter the United States, but that she feels blocked because she cannot return to the United States because she has a work visa. .
“It was so stressful at first because my job is in the US and everyone is taking classes in person and I’m here online,” she said. “It’s like the feeling that the pandemic will never end.”
Mudaliar said she feels bad that her students need to continue learning about Zoom.
“I would do a really bad student if I were to learn on Zoom, so I really applaud all of our students for doing such a good job,” she said. “They come to my classes, they all introduce themselves, they all participate, so it’s something that keeps me going.