Students respond to Fall 2020 semester plans with mixed feelings

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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 Amrita Bhattacharyya, Staff Writer

The University livestreamed a COVID-19 briefing on June 24 on University life, in which subject experts talked about what the student experience will look like this fall. 

The University Life Briefing is the fourth video in a series of livestreams by the University in an attempt to answer common questions. Although students understand that the University needs time to make a safe and comprehensive plan for the fall, many are frustrated with the slow stream of vague responses from the University.

For international students like Karan Sil, junior in LAS, the University’s slow responses can be “a little annoying,” as he plans his flights 6-8 months in advance.

“I don’t have the possibility to go home for a couple weeks when I need to and then come back to campus. I kind of have to make a decision,” Sil said. 

Zarifah Shahid, sophomore in LAS, says the slow conveyal of information becomes problematic when filling out housing contracts and arranging arrival to campus. 

“I still don’t even know what my classes are going to look like,” Shahid said. 

Others are unsure whether they will return to campus this fall. 

“I feel that the University hasn’t really provided students with enough information to make a good decision,” Matthew Kerr, senior in LAS, said. 

Students are also concerned about the quality of online instruction. 

“It’s not the environment that I’m personally used to and it’s not necessarily the environment that I thrive in,” Kerr said. “I’m not in the classroom everyday able to connect with teachers to the same degree that I would last year.”

Sil also shares the same concerns, as he says he is “most successful as a learner and a student” during in-person classes. 

Because many of his classes will not be in person, Kerr said that it’s unfair he must pay full tuition. 

“If my classes are going to be online, why would I pay the same amount if I could get a cheaper online education elsewhere?” Kerr said. 

During the livestream, Chancellor Jones said experiencing residential life is still beneficial even if all of a student’s classes are online, as it creates opportunities to engage with students with different perspectives and from different countries and backgrounds. 

Jones said the residential experience “(prepares) our students for life to be members of civil society and to be better citizens.”

“I am happy that we are given the option to come back to campus with so many stipulations in place already,” Sil said. 

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