Temple students register for primarily in-person fall classes

The Fall 2021 semester is the first semester with most classes in person since Spring 2020.

Ryan Fick, a freshman risk management and insurance major, stands outside of 1300 Residence Hall on April 12. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

This year taught Ryan Fick online classes aren’t for him. As he registered for fall semester classes, he had one goal: get as many in-person classes as possible.

“I have like, zero motivation in online school,” said Fick, a freshman risk management and insurance major. “It’s hard to talk to people when it’s like a blank screen.”

Temple University students began registering for Fall 2021 classes yesterday during priority registration and had a larger selection of in-person classes. Temple plans to hold most Fall 2020 classes in person, The Temple News reported. Many students are ready to return to the classroom but are unsure which of their classes will be in person and how they’ll stay safe in group settings.

Temple will limit the number of classrooms available for in-person classes in the fall and will hold some classes, like large lectures, online, The Temple News reported

Approximately three-quarters of classes will be in person or a hybrid of in person and online, and the remainder will be entirely online, wrote Raymond Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News.

Fick registered for five in-person classes and one online asynchronous class and is excited to socialize with his peers during class next semester. 

Temple operated most classes online during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. During the Spring 2021 semester, the university expanded COVID-19 testing to two tests per week for students with in-person classes and one test per week for staff and faculty coming to campus but do not have in-person classes. 

Grace Goldberg, a freshman nursing major, is excited that two of her five classes are in person next semester, as she finds it hard to pay attention and ask questions during her online classes, she said.

The format of her classes could change, which complicates planning her schedule, Goldberg said. 

The fall semester is subject to change as city health requirements change, and student course needs evolve, wrote Betzner.

“I would rather like, know, but I understand that it’s hard to know, and at least I have some that are guaranteed in person, and that’s more than I have now,” Goldberg added.

Indoor gatherings in Philadelphia are currently limited to 25 percent of the venue’s maximum occupancy, according to the City of Philadelphia’s website. Temple is limiting the number of students in classrooms and has a six-foot distancing requirement between students, according to the university’s COVID-19 information website.

Selena Williams-Earley, a junior social work major, wants to continue taking all online classes next semester because she needs the flexibility for her job as a special education assistant for the School District of Philadelphia, she said. 

“We have lost so many lives, which I’m saddened by, it’s been, in my case as it relates to me being a Temple student, it was a godsend,” Williams-Earley said.

Even as more people get vaccinated, Williams-Earley worries about COVID-19 risks in the fall and would rather not be around other people, she said. 

One of Rachel Savoca’s three classes she registered for is in person, and she feels safer because it is a smaller class of 15 people, she said.

Savoca, a junior early childhood education major, is also in a student teaching program with the School District of Philadelphia, and she doesn’t know if it is in person or virtual yet. 

“I think we do obviously have to somehow try to get back to normal, and I think if the right precautions are taken, then it can be done safely,” Savoca said.

Based on current vaccination rates, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Philadelphia could reach herd immunity, with 70 to 80 percent of people vaccinated, by June, 6ABC reported. 

More than 612,000 Philadelphians are fully vaccinated and more than 398,000 are partially vaccinated as of April 12, according to the city’s vaccination dashboard. 

There are currently 125 active COVID-19 cases on Temple’s campuses as of April 9, The Temple News reported. 

Max Greenberg, a freshman biology major, is currently taking a chemistry lecture in person, but has an online chemistry lab, which is difficult because he can’t conduct chemical reactions, he said. 

He is happy most of the four classes he is planning for next semester are a hybrid format, either meeting in person one or two days a week or online.

“I think returning to normalcy in terms of like the labs, it’s actually participating and actively learning,” Greenberg said. “Personally, I just know that I learn better in person.”

Goldberg feels safe going to in-person classes because she’s fully vaccinated, but still hopes students follow COVID-19 safety guidelines in classrooms, she said.

“I definitely want them to keep the mask measures and social distancing measures if we do have in-person classes,” Goldberg said. 

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