What if we want to stay with remote classes in the fall?

Columnist Jelani Wheeler. Photo by Leroy Brown

With the 2021 spring semester coming to a close, many questions remain regarding the future of college classes. The rest of this calendar year is still a mystery. Will college classes be in-person, online or both come August?

“I think in order to remain on the safe side, classes should be offered only online for the summer and the fall,” said Joshua Robinson, a senior who will be graduating in the fall. “It really just depends on the mass distribution of the vaccine. If they do a census and about 80% of Americans have taken the vaccine or had the option to take it, I think they could potentially offer in-person classes. This is just due to the fact that people will leave and congregate again.”

According to CNN, the Trump administration aimed to have 20 million Americans vaccinated by the end of 2020. Now well past that deadline, this became an empty promise. As the COVID numbers begin to decrease, the Biden administration promised having a 100 million Americans vaccinated in the first 100 days of office. For all American adults to be vaccinated by the end of 2021, the rate would have to increase to 1.3 million people vaccinated a day.

The goal for most colleges and universities is to have a “more normal” fall. In order to do this many schools across the country are pushing to be back in classrooms. Unfortunately, this causes a dilemma for many different reasons. For out-of-state students graduating in December, paying full price for one semester may be challenging financially. In-person classes have not been finalized, so students would be paying to go to school online again.

“Given that COVID-19 hasn’t been brought completely under control, classes should be continued both in-person and online,” said Patrick Joseph, an academic coach in the Undergraduate Success Center at FAMU. “While in-person social distancing and the wearing of masks should be continued, there should be every attempt to make online instruction as natural as possible.”

Online classes could also possibly be the all-around healthiest option. Students and faculty  won’t risk becoming infected, which is the largest threat to the fall semester. Students will also save a lot of money by having an online class option. Again referring to graduating students in the fall, taking one last semester online could make a huge difference financially. These are all difficult decisions that have to be made and students will have to do their best to deal with them.