IU’s hybrid fall semester began Monday amid coronavirus outbreaks in colleges across the United States. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shifted all undergraduate in-person learning to remote instruction Aug. 19. A New York Times survey has shown there have been more than 26,000 cases in more than 750 American colleges and universities since the pandemic started.
IU sophomore Varun Gopal said he hopes IU can continue with its hybrid mode of instruction until after Thanksgiving break, when the university will switch to a fully-online mode of instruction. He said news of abrupt school closures such as that of UNC Chapel Hill will push the IU community to be more disciplined facing the pandemic.
“I think people will do a pretty good job, and we will make it till Thanksgiving at least,” he said. “I’m a pretty optimistic person about these things.”
Speaking about his experiences during the first days of this semester, he said instruction feels different than before the pandemic. Gopal said classes are running more smoothly than last semester’s online classes because of lessons the administration and faculty learned last semester and their preparations throughout the summer.
However, Gopal said he is worried about networking and online classes might not give him the full college academic experience.
“You pay a lot of money to come to college to do all sorts of things,” he said. “You don’t want to be getting the secondhand version of that at a very high price.”
IU sophomore Kelvin Giang shares Gopal’s frustration with taking classes online.
“These have been the most boring two days ever,” he said. “I’ve been staying in my apartment, I cook in my apartment. What’s the point of walking around campus when nothing is open?”
Giang said he anticipates IU will try to stay open as planned, but if people don’t follow health guidelines, the hybrid mode of instruction will probably end early. He said he believes whether or not IU decides to close off its campus earlier than planned depends on the rate of case increases.
IU junior Jasmine Kim shares Gopal’s optimism and said she doesn’t believe IU will shut down earlier than planned. She said she thinks both IU students and the university are more aware of the threat of the pandemic and would come up with more solutions to adapt to the situation.
Kim said even if the school switches to online-only, she won’t immediately leave for home in Korea.
“Worst-case scenario, I will probably have to book a ticket to go back — and that is literally the worst-case scenario, if the school is shut down and restaurants are locked up,” she said. “I’m thinking of staying for now, but I’ll always have that going-back option in the back of my mind.”
She said although she has concerns about exams, grades and being with friends, she tries not to worry about the pandemic and what might happen this semester so she can focus on the tasks at hand.
“I think the more I think about the concerns, the less I can really focus on the present,” she said. “Honestly I’m not even thinking of all those, I’m just trying to stay positive and just do my best at where I’m at, and just be flexible in whatever situation I face.”
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