PATEL: We must do our part to mitigate COVID-19, get back to in-person classes

COVID-19+cases+reached+a+record+high+on+Marquette%27s+campus+following+Halloween+weekend.+Marquette+Wire+stock+photo.+

COVID-19 cases reached a record high on Marquette’s campus following Halloween weekend. Marquette Wire stock photo.

It seems as if the coronavirus pandemic may never end at this point. It caused Marquette students’ spring 2020 semester to end abruptly as well as force many in-person classes online this semester.  Other school festivities such as Homecoming and basketball games were also canceled. Second semester may possibly be forced completely online too. COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin are exponentially increasing with almost 245,000 total confirmed cases and more hospital beds being filled up. With these threats it may not seem responsible or safe for us to take in-person classes next semester.

Although we must take precaution during the coronavirus pandemic, we have to realize that remote learning is much different than in-person learning. With remote learning comes the possibility of falling behind due to confusion about assignment deadlines and lacking access to technology. This is even more debilitating for college students as they may have to repeat classes, potentially putting them academically behind and under more financial burdens.

Additionally, a lack of motivation to join classes online and deal with distractions are more prevalent during remote learning. This can also contribute to doing poorly in school as it may be easier for students to fall behind. Being in-person forces students to pay attention in class as everyone else is doing the same. When students are in-person, they aren’t distracted by their phones or friends, and they aren’t in the comfort of their own beds, which could prevent them from paying attention.

Being online makes it harder to stay motivated to go in class when some don’t take attendance or even require students to show their faces over Teams. Some remote classes are just recorded lectures, which takes away from the quality of the learning experience. Even if professors are holding classes over Teams, there is still more opportunity for interaction than over a recorded lecture.

While doing school from home may be beneficial in order to protect students and nearby communities from increasing the spread of the coronavirus, it can take a toll on a students’ academic life and well-being. Some students also feel that remote classes just feels like they’re self-learning. During in-person classes, students can better understand course content because they’re in a better learning environment.  In-person classes also allow students to get to know their professors and other peers on a face-to-face basis, providing them the opportunity to build relationships and friendships, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Marquette students taking remote classes this semester may feel less comfortable reaching out to professors and other students who they barely know due to the different learning environment. They may also feel they have to do additional studying and homework to make up for the loss of quality and attention that the online format may take away from their understanding of course material. All of these factors combined can build up stress, lack of motivation and time taken away from other activities. It seems as if students have to do extra work to keep up with their classes online which is a drastic change from last year.

Doing online school also doesn’t give students opportunities to live the “college experience,” which encompasses the new experiences students have when they go away to college, such as living away from home, meeting new people and seeing new places like Milwaukee. Marquette students are unable to truly live for themselves if they are in their room all day taking remote courses instead of hybrid or in-person classes.

Last year, students were able to go to class in person and sit close to their peers so they could get to interact with them, form study groups and even form new friendships that would be with them beyond college. If classes were completely online next semester, students wouldn’t get that opportunity to meet new people. Interacting with people through Teams is not the same as interacting with them in person. If we can maintain social distancing policies and wear a mask in the classroom, there should be no reason as to why we would have to go online. 

As strange as this semester is, it is imperative that we do not go fully online. In order to get back to in-person learning and make sure students don’t miss out on their college experience, everyone part of the Marquette community must do their part to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. This includes wearing face masks, social distancing and not gathering in large groups.

COVID-19 cases on Marquette’s campus reached a record high after Halloween weekend with 31 students testing positive Nov. 3, according to the Marquette coronavirus dashboard.

The responsibility is on all of us. If we want classes to return to normal, we have to do our part and follow-up COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

The university should also hold us more accountable for following these rules. As much of a “hassle” it may seem, it’s better than being online completely.

If we are not to return to completely in-person classes next semester, students who don’t feel comfortable going back in-person because of the COVID-19 pandemic or who have been exposed should have the choice to take their classes from home.

This pandemic is impacting all of us, and we need to take it seriously if we want to see each other in a normal classroom setting again.

This story was written by Krisha Patel. She can be reached at krisha.patel@marquette.edu