Bucks is planning to bring more students back to campus for the fall 2021 semester, but things are going to be run differently than they had been before the pandemic.
The college’s provost, Lisa Angelo, said “We had to get creative on how to get enough seats without all of our students being face to face.”
Angelo said one of the big changes to the way classes will be run is the creation of 35 “high flex classrooms.” Angelo described the classrooms as one class split into two modules. A student enrolled in a class would go to class twice a week, but only come to campus once a week, with the other class that week being online.
“Let’s say the class holds 24 students. One section would be 12 students with Tuesday face-to-face and Thursday Zoom, and the other section would be the other 12 students with Tuesday Zoom and Thursday face-to-face,” said Angelo.
It is essentially like the “hybrid” model many grade schools in the area did/are doing.
There have been a small number of students on campus. Art students, students with lab-based courses, and health services students have been getting in person classes for the spring semester, adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
“We are going to continue social distancing, continuing to wear masks, we’ve been fortunate to not have any transmission on campus,” said Angelo.
Students will be able to customize their schedule to their liking this upcoming semester.
“If you want an entirely face-to-face schedule, you ought to be able to get one. If you want an entirely zoom schedule you ought to be able to get one. If you would like a mix, you’ll be able to get one,” said Angelo.
“We are also monitoring student enrollment, if online sections are starting to fill up, we will add more online sections. If more students are signing up for hybrid sections, we will add more hybrid sections. If students are flocking to the face-to-face options, we will add more face-to-face sections.”
Safety is still at the top of the college’s priorities, as some students may be hesitant to return to campus. Angelo is hopeful students will feel safe on campus.
“I think that students who have been coming on campus are very comfortable coming there and feel safe, once students return to campus will see that we are doing everything to keep people safe, some students are a little anxious to be around people after not being around people for a while. I think it’s that initial hesitancy we need to get over, and then we’ll be a little more relaxed about interaction,” said Angelo.
“We’ve done everything we can to keep students and faculty safe since we’ve been allowed back. There have been no transmissions on campus, you can see that data on our website.”
Response from students and faculty has been mostly positive.
Angela Leamon, a 20-year-old communications major said, “I don’t know why, but in person connections make me feel like I’m learning better, I hope that everyone can go back to in person. Yes, [virtual learning] is easy, but it’s also making me lazy.”
John Madden, a 23-year-old communications major said, “I think I’d like to be back for at least some of my classes, for it to be part of my day. It’s nice to get out of the house.”
“I like in person teaching; it’s nice to be on campus and see people. If I don’t go back to campus soon, I’ll never wear anything but sweatpants and slippers.” said Tony Rogers, Bucks’ journalism professor.