Students excited to return to on-site classes


Patrick Flood

UW Oshkosh Photo — Computer labs and classrooms will look a lot different when students return to campus in the fall.

Kaitlyn Scoville, Copy Desk Chief and Writer

Some UW Oshkosh students have responded optimistically to an email announcement on July 9 from University Police Chief and Recovery Task Force spokesman Kurt Leibold that provided more details on in-person classes returning in fall.

“About 2,00 faculty, staff and students across our three campuses have been working hard over the past three weeks to implement our Titans Return Fall 2020 plan,” Leibold said in the email. “Their efforts are split among 30 teams, each tasked with developing the protocols to bring our staff and students safely back to our campuses this fall.”

It was said in the email that about 70% of all classes will be held in-person, and nearly 100% of them have the option to be online if students wanted to do so. Changes in course delivery will be reflected on one’s TitanWeb. Face coverings will be required in all buildings and classroom sizes will be reduced to about 50% capacity to enforce social distancing.

Additionally, Webster Hall was decided to be the designated location for students to live in isolation at UWO if they contract COVID-19 during the semester.

Anna Liedtke, a senior biology major from Wausau, did well last semester despite classes moving online.

“It was my best semester yet, which was exciting,” Liedtke said.

Even though she got good grades, there was something that she said was missing.

“For me personally, it’s more meaningful to be face-to-face,” Liedtke added. “I guess it was just easier for me to pick up on it online.”

However, Alex Bullock, a junior math major from Oshkosh, struggled to complete the semester online due to his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“I just could not concentrate and focus on actually doing the online classes,” Bullock said.

However, he put some of his concern with his professors as well, saying that although everybody moved online in spring, his math professors still might not be experienced enough to continue remote teaching in fall.

“It’s where the difficulty lies and how the professors are going to be [teaching],” Bullock said. “They weren’t really taught how to do online courses, whereas other professors may have actually had experience teaching online courses and had no problem with it.”

Like Liedtke, Bullock also prefers face-to-face instruction. But he said that professors may also be missing out on key interactions with their students.

“They don’t get that face-to-face connection [online],” Bullock said. “They don’t get that understanding of what someone’s certain problems are unless they’re doing a Collaborate Ultra-type-thing.”

Ramona Nelson, a junior nursing major and international student from Jamaica, said that the spring semester was difficult for her.

“It was a lot and it was mentally draining, trying to stay on top of everything with such a sudden shift,” Nelson said. “I’ve never had online classes before.”

Nelson added that she prefers in-person instruction, and that half of her four fall courses are.

“I prefer in person classes because when I do that, I’m mandated to go to classes, which means that I have to get work done,” she said. “With online classes, you have to be better at managing your own time, and that gives a lot of leeway for procrastination and slacking off.”

All of Liedtke’s courses as of publication will be in person, whereas three of Bullock’s four classes were moved to being 100% online.

Despite most of his classes being moved to remote learning, Bullock said he is still weary of his peers following the new Titans Return guidelines.

“I just think that people aren’t going to really take it seriously,” he said. “That’s going to wind up getting the school shut down again.”

Nelson compared COVID to the Norovirus, which spread around campus in early 2018.

“That was through feces — so imagine how much easier it’s going to be for COVID to spread on campus,” she said.

Liedtke wanted to remind her peers to remain cautious when coming back to campus, as she thinks others are just as excited about returning.

“Please be respectful and kind to the people around you and understand that this is for everyone and not necessarily just for just a single individual or you,” she said. “I’m excited to get back into the groove of being on campus again; I really like the lifestyle and doing classes in person.”

And  Nelson stressed that her peers should be courteous and mindful of those around them.

“Everyone knows there’s a pandemic going on, so you have to try to keep yourself, your friends and others around you safe, because once it starts spreading, then everyone’s going to feel the blunt of the consequences.”