University sends Massmail detailing fall semester plans

The+main+quad+remains+relatively+barren+at+1%3A48+p.m.+on+April+3+as+many+students+have+left+campus+due+to+the+coronavirus.

Kevin Gao

The main quad remains relatively barren at 1:48 p.m. on April 3 as many students have left campus due to the coronavirus.

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

The University sent out a Massmail to campus community members on Wednesday that gave an outline of a potential hybrid system with a combination of online and in-person classes. The COVID-19 Academic Affairs Team created a draft report with the necessary precautions the University is taking into consideration for its final plans.

“Even as the University must rely on remote course delivery for modified instruction, we should strive to maximize face-to-face instruction to the degree that safety allows,” wrote Andreas Cangellaris, provost of the University. “To the extent feasible, units should have the ability to determine the appropriate delivery modality for their own courses.”

In response to the potential reopening of the University, the Campus Faculty Association has written an open letter stating that they are opposed to the hybrid system and recommend that they continue using the online format from the previous semester.

“We put together a letter that states unequivocally that we, as a group of faculty members, are opposed to opening the campus to the student who will be coming for any reason, that they may wish to choose to come to campus,” said Bruce Rosenstock, a professor in the Department of Religion. “We are opposed to having students come to campus unless they have a serious reason to do face-to-face instruction.”

According to the draft plans, students are able to return to campus if needed, but they will need to abide by social distancing rules in order to prevent infection. The reopening of campus allows courses that can only occur in person to continue and help students who may need to reside on campus due to external circumstances. 

“I happened to be an international student, so in addition to everything going on, I have to find an answer whether I should go back home or not,” said Yazeed Alfawaz, a rising senior in LAS.

As an international student, Yazeed has to consider how the hybrid system would affect his academics, depending on if he returns home or stays on campus.

“I’m in the U.S. right now, but I signed up for a flight to go home and I got my ticket for July 1st actually. So, my status is heavily dependent on whether or not the school announces in-person classes,” Alfawaz said.

Rosenstock states that reopening campus will put all community members at risk for the virus, as social distancing rules and regulations will be difficult to maintain, and testing will not prevent the virus from spreading or getting others sick.

“I believe that the university is wasting its effort in attempting to arrange for students to return to campus,” Rosenstock said. “They ought to be placing all of their effort in creating the most excellent educational opportunity for the students online for at least the fall and possibly the entire academic year until we get a vaccine.”

Rosenstock has already decided to continue his courses online in order to prevent this potential spread of the virus that could occur if the University goes forward with the hybrid system for the upcoming fall semester. 

“My school has decided just recently, I’m on the committee that made this decision, that all of its classes that would be held in the building will be taught online. No courses will be taught in the foreign language building,” Rosenstock said.

The University will revise the draft plan that was created by the Academic Affairs team and a final version of the plan for the Fall 2020 academic semester should be released in mid-June.

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