As Iowa remains one of the world’s COVID-19 hot spots, many question whether the decision to keep students on campus is the right way to go.
A survey posted to the Iowa State Daily social media accounts collected 384 responses from students, faculty, staff and parents. Just over 54 percent of respondents said Iowa State administration should make the decision to move all classes online, 46 percent said they should not.
Many stated having to pay full tuition and needing a hands-on learning environment as their reasoning for not going online.
One student said going online would mess up their four-year plan.
“If we go online, I will learn nothing. The education will not be the same. I am not paying full tuition at a state school to attend online. Also going online is going to push back my four year plan,” they said.
Senior event management major Gabrielle Evans said in-person classes are essential to her quality of education.
“In person classes are valuable and necessary for my education,” Evans said. “I haven't felt unsafe in any of my in person classes. Going online would likely cause one class to cancel and I would miss out on the lab education of three others.”
One parent said classes should not move online because of the complications and difficulties that can arise from doing classes in a virtual format.
“Students pay tuition to have in-person class and for the campus experience at ISU,” they said. Online teaching and learning is not ideal for professors and students. Many professors do not know how or have the resources to teach remotely via online and have never been taught to do so. Likewise, many students do not do well with this platform of learning.”
Some comments also pointed out the fact that sending students home could spread COVID-19 in their communities and it would be better to contain the virus.
“The outbreak in Ames won't stop if we're sent home, sending students home will help to spread the virus across the country, helping to fuel a possible second wave,” said senior elementary education major Kimberly Zavoski. “Also, online learning is very hard, if not impossible for certain majors, and the quality of instruction isn't the same as that of in person classes.”
Of those that said classes should be moved completely online, the consensus was that health and safety should take priority over money.
Emma York, junior in communication studies, said classes should go online but students should be allowed to stay in on-campus housing so virus spread stays contained to the area.
“It isn't safe for the students, faculty and staff, or community to continue in person instruction,” York said. “There are high risk students literally risking their lives for their education while others are going to large crowded house parties. I think instruction should go online but they should allow students to stay in on-campus housing, as to not spread the virus even more.”
Another student said they are afraid to be on campus.
“Yes, most student cases are happening in off-campus residences, but that doesn’t mean those same students are not walking on campus and infecting those who pass them, sit in the same seat/at the same table, etc,” they said. “Not to mention the hundreds of asymptomatic students in fraternities and sororities that are not getting tested and continuing to party. I would feel safer if ISU went online and most students moved back home.”
One faculty member said the risk is too high to continue with in-person classes.
“Let's quit putting faculty, staff, and students at risk. We proved we can do this in [spring 2020],” they said.
Sophomore psychology major Breana Strelnieks said moving classes online is necessary and should be an easier transition than it was in the spring.
“No one's health should be put at risk for anything. It should be top priority,” Strelnieks said. “A big reason students are living on campus or near campus is because they are on Merit scholarships and are forced to attend in person classes if they are offered. No student or teacher should be forced to be a part of something that puts their health at risk. Plus, the majority of students are already at least partially online.”
Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen announced previously there are currently no plans to move online due to low transmission rates on campus.
In the third week of classes, 325 more individuals tested positive for COVID-19. There have been 1,443 positive cases reported on Iowa State’s campus since Aug. 1.