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Last updateMon, 18 Jan 2021 7pm

Editorial

Monmouth's Spring Semester Plans

default article imageAs we approach the end of another semester affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Outlook editors discussed their opinions on the University’s plans for the spring semester. As announced by President Leahy via email on Nov. 20, these plans include the mix of in-person, hybrid, and online course delivery, the extension of winter break by one week, and the removal of a week-long spring break in replace of two “break days”—one in March and one in April.

The decision came just ten days before all classes, except labs, moved online after Thanksgiving Break for the remainder of the semester.

This spring semester will be the third semester affected by the pandemic, not including the online courses delivered during summer 2020. While some editors’ spring schedule is still to be determined, a few editors will have solely online classes. Most editors agree that the University made the right decision regarding course delivery in the spring semester.

“I think that having a similar course delivery next semester, as we have had this semester, makes the most sense,” one editor said. “Having mostly an online course delivery again is the safest option for the students and faculty.”

“I agree with the decision to have the spring semester course setup similar as it was to the fall semester because it is the most practical,” another editor agreed. “The virus spikes right now also prove that we cannot go into full in-person instruction yet.”

One editor expressed their disappointment with the spring semester plans, but said that they were expected, considering that the pandemic is still ongoing. The editor said, “While I do believe the school made the right choice in terms of slowing the spread, I personally feel like I do not retain much content while learning virtually. Being that next semester I will be a senior taking some of my most important courses, I fear that I will be at a disadvantage in the future.”

Similarly, many editors are disappointed with, yet understand, the University’s decision to cancel spring break and implement two “break days” in March and April instead.

“I am sad that our spring break was cancelled, but it is not like I could really go anywhere, so it really is what it is,” said one editor. “It is better off this way.”

“I was really looking forward to having a spring break this year so that I could have a week off to myself, but I guess this is a safer alternative,” added one editor.

Another editor is indifferent to the spring break decision, stating, “Though it would be nice to have a week off, I guess it was the only option. Maybe I’ll feel stronger about it once I’m immersed in my coursework for next semester. But for now, I’m okay with it.”

It makes sense for the University to take away the week-long spring break to prevent students from traveling and thus risking spreading the virus to other students. It might be tough for students who are overwhelmed with the heavy workload that comes with midterm season. A single break day in March and April doesn’t offer students too much of an actual break. Although winter break was extended a week, which will allow students more time to quarantine after the holidays, the removal of spring break does not seem like a popular decision for students.

A common concern among some students this fall semester was their housing options, and the updated spring schedule may affect students’ housing plans next semester as well.

“If it were up to me, I’d be staying home next semester because I would be saving so much money in housing costs. But being that I rent a house off campus, it would be a waste of money for me to pay rent for a home I’m not living in,” one editor noted.

Fortunately, some editors do not have to alter their housing situations. “This does not change my plans since I live on campus,” one editor said. “Whether we’re fully online or not I will always be able to attend my classes with convenience.”

“This announcement does not change anything for me, and it is the most practical for me,” another editor mentioned. “I will live off campus and it makes me feel safer than being on campus, which can become a hotspot sometimes.”

Overall, it seems like the University is trying its best to accommodate all students during these tough times of the pandemic. For now, we can only hope for a normal fall 2021 semester.

 

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University

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