A look at the spring semester schedule for online and in-person classes
On Nov. 2, Humboldt State University informed the student body on how classes were going to be conducted in the spring 2021 semester. Classes will start online and move in-person up until spring break, where classes will switch back to online for two weeks before going back to in-person for the rest of the year.
HSU Provost Jenn Capps says this is essentially the same type of schedule as last year.
“We landed at probably the same amount of face-to-face time for students, but what we did is that there is probably more hybrid courses that have a little face-to-face component versus more limited full face-to-face classes,” said Capps.
The biggest challenge was working around spring break in the middle of the semester and planning for the return of students from the break.
“Folks are gonna wanna go home for spring break and come back and how do we have safe reentry back to campus,” said Capps.
A question was brought about possible moving spring break to a different time or completely removing it and ending a week early.
“So I did actually take that question to Senate and to Associated Students and asked their perspective, as well as faculty and staff,” said Capps. “That feedback informed that we should not move it, that we should just leave it where it was. Maybe the only consensus was, please don’t take our spring break away, which I totally understand.”
Students were uncertain about the schedule but enjoyed some of the safety aspects factored into the decision to start online. Kyra Cherry, a biology major at HSU, is one of those students who appreciated the safety precaution.
“I think that in the beginning having virtual instruction only, is pretty good especially since we don’t know where everyone is coming from, who all they’ve been around,” said Cherry. “So, I think that’s important.”
After spring break, the on and off switching between virtual and in-person instruction forces students to adjust for two weeks and switch again.
“I also think that it’s a pretty decent window of time before the face-to-face instruction,” Cherry said. “But I think that after that, since it starts switching back and forth between virtual and face-to-face, that’s kind of an issue with scheduling with certain students.”
For Cherry, changes in class schedules as a result of switching between face-to-face and virtual threw off her personal schedule.
“I had a class where some unfortunate things happened and the course got switched up quite a bit and I had to reevaluate what I was doing for my class, cause I already had my weekly schedule of when I would do what for each class set,” said Cherry.
Environmental studies major, August Andrews, prefers face-to-face learning and an in-person, social environment.
“To be honest, I prefer in-person stuff. It’s just the connections you can make and the learning style,” said Andrews. “Personally I’m managing with online classes, they’re not terrible, but at the same time it’s not nearly as preferable in my opinion to in person classes or even some kind of hybrid class.”
He does have concerns regarding COVID-19 and how it would fare in the winter months.
“The only concern I share is that, at least from what we know from the Coronavirus that it thrives more in the winter months, but other than that I’m actually really excited about [the schedule] and I do miss the partial face-to-face classes,” said Andrews.
There are university policies set to catch COVID-19 cases early when students return for the spring semester.
“Students living on-campus will be required to be tested and students residing off-campus will be encouraged to seek testing if they are returning to Humboldt county for spring (from home that was outside of the county) or if they fail their self-wellness check,” said Capps in an email.
Capps is very happy with how students have stepped up during this semester and continued to wear masks and socially distance.
“I’m really proud of how we did and hats go off to our students and our faculty and our staff,” said Capps.