By Catherine Brown–
After two semesters of hybrid and remote classes, U of L is finally offering face-to-face classes and 100% virtual classes in fall 2021. This can finally be the return to normal that many students have been anticipating.
U of L announced the transition in an email sent out earlier this month on March 12 via the U of L Update service account.
In the email, Executive Vice President and University Provost Beth Boehm said that as vaccines are coming out, the university will be able to transition most classes from virtual to face-to-face in the fall.
This is the kind of news that many students and faculty have been looking forward to since last spring.
“I was very excited to see that we’d be going back to face-to-face,” Trevin Brent, a junior SPAD major, said. “As long as it is proven to be safe I couldn’t be happier about it!”
Brent added that he plans to schedule all in-person classes for the fall semester.
Meanwhile, Livi Westbay, a junior communication major, hopes that U of L keeps hybrid classes as an option for students to choose when registering for classes.
“I’m glad classes are going back to normal but I think U of L should keep hybrid courses an option,” Westbay said.
Accordingly, she plans to enroll in only online classes for the fall semester.
For faculty and staff, these changes mean planning out another semester of classes while also needing a contingency plan in case the pandemic rolls over into the fall.
Megan Poole, assistant professor of English at U of L, aims to make decisions for the class based on what her students are most comfortable with.
“The main practice I began during pandemic teaching that I will continue into future semesters is sending out a pre-course survey to ask what students expect to get from the course, how they plan to participate, and why they have enrolled,” she said. “This feedback allows me to tweak instruction plans to best fit student needs and interests, but it also gives students a stake in how the course unfolds.”
Poole said that she hopes other professors will be mindful of the physical and mental wellbeing of students as they plan for the future.
“More fundamental than whether I agree or not with the change to F2F or 100% DE is my belief that no matter what format our classes operate under next semester, professors should enter the classroom knowing that students might struggle with yet another transition in their learning environment.”
Traditional freshmen in the 2020-21 school year might not have gotten the “college experience” that many upperclassmen got to enjoy in the 2019-2020 academic year, including in-person RSO meetings, school sporting events, and getting to meet classmates and professors in the classroom.
In fall 2021, incoming freshmen will get the chance to experience college life a little bit closer to the way it was before.
As more individuals across campus get the vaccine, we can anticipate a steady decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases.
We know that the virus will not be gone by the fall semester.
But we can still plan to return to a fraction of the way we once were.
File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal