After waiting for more than a year for our return to in-person classes and campus life, the celebration has unfortunately been cut short by the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases on campus. On Sept. 8, students received an email stating that there were 105 new cases. The email highlighted that on-campus isolation is almost at capacity as the number of Delta variant cases continues to surge.
This sudden increase raises the question of how the university and the city of Newark will handle it. Will gathering ordinances be brought back? Will we go back to online classes? As someone who has unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19, I’ve spent the last 10 days asking myself these same questions.
While isolating myself from friends and my social life has been difficult, one of the main issues that I have dealt with since testing positive is keeping up with school work. Since most classes are in-person now, the convenience we all became accustomed to with online classes is no longer present. It’s been difficult to stay on track with my academic life while communicating with professors by email or getting notes from friends. Thankfully, my professors have been understanding of the situation, but miscommunication or confusion is bound to happen from simply not being in class for multiple days. While also dealing with symptoms and the strain of being isolated, it’s safe to say it’s been a long 10 days.
To remedy this issue, some professors have begun to use UD Capture, which allows professors to take audio recordings of lectures and upload them for student access. With UD Capture, students who are absent can asynchronously hear the classes they miss. It has helped ease my stress during my quarantine and is something that should be utilized by all professors if case numbers continue to increase.
If classes continue to be in person as the case numbers continue to rise, the university needs to have a protocol to aid students who are missing over a week of classes due to isolation. The installation of UD Capture is a step in the right direction to accommodate students, but as the case numbers rise, so will the amount of students falling behind.
It has understandably been a difficult transition for faculty and students since we started the first in-person semester in over a year. Having to readjust to a classroom setting and teaching has not been an easy task. With the addition of the growing concern of the Delta variant, the transition has become even more difficult.
Adjusting and accommodating is a skill that students, professors and practically everyone else has had to master throughout the course of the pandemic. If classes remain in-person, a joint effort will have to be made to accommodate students and their academics. Isolation can be mentally draining. The added stress of falling behind in school work only makes matters worse.
The stress and anxiety that comes from missing class and assignments is not the only concern that comes with the surge. Many have expressed concern over the possible return to online class. On Sept. 9, the university sent an email stating that professors may move their classes online if they feel that the number of students that have tested positive will negatively impact the learning environment.
This update has increased the concern of another fully remote semester. Many students feel as if we should just continue normally and hopefully the cases will settle down, while others are concerned for their safety and the safety of other students. Regardless of student debate, if the cases continue to increase at the current rate, the university will have to make a decision.
Lily Williams is a columnist for The Review. Her opinions are her own and do not represent the majority opinion of The Review’s editorial staff. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.