As we approach the almost year mark of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, schools quickly had to transition to virtual learning. These transitions in education happened quickly and with very little preparedness to what students and teachers were about to embark on.
Over the past year, a lot has changed, including how we attend school, with most classes being virtual, which has become the new normal for students. At the beginning of the semester, Stevenson University announced that it would be allowing some classes to happen in person with social distancing in the classroom. The protocols entailed a limited number of people in the room, both teachers and students wearing mask and alternating dismissal times to keep from large groups gathering during class changes.
With some classes moving back to in-person learning, both teachers and students have had to follow proper guidelines. For example, Business Communication professor Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus, who has moved back into the classroom to teach, said with a smile, “It feels good to be back in the classroom—it really does—and it’s also a little sense of normalcy in these tough times.”
While professors have appreciated the normalcy of being back in class, some students have also had to adjust to the new way of attending class. Students who have attended class virtually had mixed responses. Ryan Coleman, a junior Business Communication major, said, “At first, it was not an easy transition when we went virtual, but thanks to the help of the professors, I have been able to adapt to the new normal.”
As online learning has become the best way to educate during a pandemic, there are some who think this will affect us negatively, such as less conversation and interaction, more isolation and loneliness. However, there have been noticeable positives such as improved and more frequent communication with others, peers, or family. Bell also said that “she believes that it has helped improve presentation skills in students.”
Stevenson hopes things can start to return to normal next year as the new vaccines look to be very promising. Stevenson also believes, at this writing, that students will return to the classrooms at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.