University of Delaware students feel conflicted about the school’s recent decision to put most classes online, and some are waiting to see if they are offered a place in dormitories.
President Dennis Assanis announced last week that the university would go to mostly online classes because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases among 18- to 34-year-olds.
“I mean personally for grade purposes, I think this is a plus,” said junior Jonathan Kuntzi of Dover, who is studying physical therapy. “But still I’m missing out on the campus. I’ll miss it.”
“Seeing as the school is so big, I figured this decision was going to be made,” said Maya Guthrie of Dover, also a junior. “I obviously think this is for the best but I’m still sad.”
The decision reversed an earlier announcement that UD planned to keep most students on campus, putting classes above 49 people online and keeping the rest at least partially in person.
Students taking select classes that require them to meet in person, such as nursing clinicals and certain visual arts, will be invited to move into student housing. Some students who have hardship cases also will be allowed to move in.
As of Tuesday, the students hadn’t heard anything about dorms.
“If I had to move to main campus, I probably wouldn’t,” says Guthrie, a teaching student. “It seems like it would be very isolated and intense.
She thinks being on campus with all the new restrictions involving daily checks, masks, social distancing and visitors, would cause a lot of stress on top of the stress coming from paying for the dorm.
“In the end, I think it would be more of a hassle than it would be worth the experience,” she said.
Guthrie doesn’t know if or how she will go about fulfilling her student teaching requirements this semester and hasn’t yet heard from the school about it.
Ryan Horne of Dover, a senior in finance, said he didn’t think any of his classes would be online.
“But I don’t think I would go,” he said. “I think there’s a huge risk in attending in-person classes right now and I’m not willing to run that risk, for one, because I don’t trust every student in the room to follow the precautions.”
Most students seemed to understand why the university is keeping students home, and they support that decision.
They also worry the upcoming semester might be a repeat of last semester’s trial by broadband.
“My teachers had no idea how to transfer a class on to Zoom,” said Justin Clayville of Dover, a UD junior in biology.
Clayville won’t have any classes this semester that require him to move into a dorm.\
“I would probably commute if I absolutely had to,” he said. “But I wouldn’t want to do that. I would probably just not take that class.”
Some students seem to be more than willing to go back for the semester, even with the risks.
“My girlfriend lives at UD,” Kuntzi said. “So if I had classes in person, I would have options, but I’m almost certain that I don’t.”
Zachary Dotts of Milford, a junior in criminal justice, says that if he has a class that required him to be on the Newark campus, he’d happily go.
“I’ve been ready to go up there all summer,” he said. “I think I would be fine.”