After Thanksgiving Break, most classes will be meeting remotely, using Zoom or Brightspace, while there are a select few that will return to campus after break. The decision of whether or not a class can meet back on campus is left up to the academic department of which the class belongs to.
According to the Provosts of SFA, this decision was to help classes that use certain machinery or equipment to retain an important concept or to allow students to get their field work hours. However, the openness of this decision being left to the discretion of the department can leave a lot of room for some professors to take advantage of the situation, thus putting themselves and their students at risk of COVID-19. Essentially, the decision allows some classes to return after break that could be accomplished successfully going virtual for those last two weeks instead of returning to campus and putting each other at risk.
The whole idea of classes switching to remote learning with the exception of classes that need access to certain resources is not a bad one. Taken seriously, this is a decision that could help every student, faculty and staff member positively. However, when professors use the decision to satisfy their own idea of how classes should run, this creates a problem. Students are heading back to their families this Thanksgiving. Some hometowns that many students who attend SFA go back to have a much higher infection rate than that of Nacogdoches. Professors ignoring this fact in order to achieve their version of their preferred classroom is dangerous, for themselves and their students.
We understand that everyone misses college as we knew it in years past. However, if we want to achieve what we once had again, we need to take the necessary precautions and follow the protocol to ensure that the spreading of COVID digresses. The sooner we all respect regulations, the sooner we get back face-to-face classes, going into public without a mask and larger social gatherings. This is something that students, faculty and staff all need to consider.
At the end of the day, students are going to abide by what their professors say if they want to succeed in their courses. Faculty, please remember to keep yourself and your students healthy and safe in these last few months of this fall semester. Students and staff, please remember to make good and healthy choices over the break, so we can come back to campus ready as ever.