‘Expected it’: Temple students, faculty plan for another semester mostly online

Temple announced Monday that most courses will continue to be held online in the spring.

Ruby Price, a junior media studies and production major, sits in Charles Library on Nov. 2. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

No matter if Shannon Stretch enrolls in courses or takes off next semester, she feels there will be a downside to her choice. She’s struggling to learn in online classes, but she’s worried that if she tests positive for COVID-19, she’ll miss out on instruction.

“Trying to commit to going to a Zoom class everyday it’s like, I’m still in bed, I’m still in my pajamas and I’m trying to force myself to go to accounting at 9:30 in the morning, it’s just not working,” said Stretch, a sophomore business undeclared major.

On Monday, Temple University announced it will continue mostly remote learning next semester while offering a mix of in-person and online courses. Some Temple students and faculty are hopeful for classes with in-person components, while others worry about a possible increase in cases of COVID-19 with more in-person classes.

Temple will hold a majority of the classes for the spring semester online while expanding the amount of in-person classes because of ongoing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Temple News reported.  

The Fall 2020 semester is being held almost entirely online after Temple reported more than 200 active cases of COVID-19 in early September, The Temple News reported. 

As of Nov. 2, there are 48 active cases of COVID-19 on campus, a decline since reporting 90 cases on Oct. 26, The Temple News reported.

Temple announced it will test students living in residence halls and students taking in-person courses twice a week throughout the spring semester. Faculty and staff with in-person work who routinely interact with students will be eligible to be tested twice a week, The Temple News reported.

On Oct. 26, Temple announced it would delay the start of the spring semester from Jan. 11 to Jan.19 to allow returning students to quarantine for two weeks, and that spring break, scheduled from March 1 through 7, is canceled, The Temple News reported.

Patrick Celidonio Moyses said Temple’s Monday announcement felt “last minute.”

Patrick Celidonio Moyses, a senior biology major, stands outside the Student Center on Nov. 2. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

“Class registration was just announced,” said Celidonio Moyses, a senior biology major. “Usually we know like months in advance so that kind of like caught me off guard a little bit.”

Celidonio Moyses is preparing to take in-person classes this spring if it helps him graduate on time, he said. 

Alison Evans, a senior visual studies major, wants to take classes with in-person components because she has been struggling with her online studio classes this semester, she said.

Alison Evans, a senior visual studies major, stands outside the Wall on Nov. 2. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

“It’s almost impossible to take them online and it’s been really difficult this semester to like try to do that in my apartment bedroom,” she said. “Hopefully, I can take some hybrid or in-person courses. But if most of my classes are online, I’m kind of not in a good situation with graduating.”

Kevin Arceneaux, a political science professor, will continue to only teach online classes in the spring, as he feels the risk of in-person learning outweighs the benefit.

“The cost of doing it isn’t just the inconvenience of having to pivot from one mode of instruction to another, it’s the possibility that people could get, you know, infected with COVID and be seriously ill,” Arceneaux said. 

During the fall semester, Temple has not seen cases of COVID-19 infection from transmission in in-person classes, wrote Raymond Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News on Oct. 23.

Kareem Bryant said he’s not sure how to feel about the continuation of online classes for the spring semester, despite online learning being a “standard” during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bryant, a kinesiology professor, said the university made the best decision possible with current COVID-19 circumstances.

“They did the best that they could and they were kind of trying to stay out front of the issue and did communicate, I think as effectively as they could after decisions were made,” he added. 

Ruby Price, a junior media studies and production major, said the announcement made her confident in her plans to live off campus during the spring semester and take one or two classes with in-person components.

“I kind of expected it considering the COVID numbers are going up, so I expected that we would have classes online or a hybrid system again,” Price added.

As of Nov. 1, COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia are rising with an average positivity rate of 9.4 percent, Billy Penn reported.

Patrick Rieker, a freshman undeclared major, lives in Morgan Hall and plans to stay for the spring semester because of the possibility of having in-person classes. 

He is glad to have more in-person opportunities on campus for his second semester, he added.

“I think we have the space to socially distance and to have a safe community environment, so I am excited for it,” Rieker said. “I’m nervous that it’s not going to go well, but I’m hopeful as well.”

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