By Amaya Morales
With the coronavirus pandemic causing rapid changes and uncertainty among the FDU community, the Fall 2020 course offerings list has been affected.
The school has had to closely monitor the situation and make decisions based on the unpredictability of the virus, said Dr. Gillian Small, the University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, in a Zoom conference on Wednesday, May 6.
Overall, the possibility of returning to campus is uncertain. Small said that the school is putting everyone’s “health and safety first.” She said that the school “might be able to have some students on-campus but with social distancing. We may have to start with distance learning and then move on-campus.”
Because of the pandemic and its unpredictability, the class registration process, which is a fundamental part of preparing for the fall semester regardless of a return to campus or not has been upended.
Some prerequisite courses, such as English Writing and Biology I and II, have been affected. English Writing has been moved to Writing — and is no longer available under “ENWR,” the old subject title. Biology I and II are not being offered for the Fall 2020 semester.
Small said she does not “know the individual courses yet” that are being removed. However, Small said that due to “the bi campus merge, the writing course has been renumbered and [the school] will make that clear to all of the freshmen. It is the same on both campuses.”
The Equinox reached out to Dr. Janet Boyd — director of the School of Humanities at the Metropolitan campus — regarding the prerequisite writing but did not receive a response in time for the publication of this article.
If there is another virtual semester, students and professors will be affected because some classes require hands-on activities for learning. For many of the science courses, students are required to take a lab component along with the lecture. Small says that the school “[plans] to offer the lectures but we are working on virtual labs and we are planning on offering them. We just have to prepare to do them.”
However, a lot of the challenges will be in the art department; students may not have the tools, or the funds to purchase the requisite supplies or software, in order to do many of the courses from home. If remote learning occurs in the fall, there is a possibility that students may choose to delay some of the courses they are planning to take.
Small told The Equinox “We are preparing for every scenario possible and our team is working to hold another admitted students day since the deadline for students to commit has been pushed back to June 1. Our main priority is to return to campus when it is safe.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, told the United States Senate on Tuesday, May 12, that “it was a bridge too far for schools to expect a vaccine or widely available treatment for Covid-19 by the time students return to campuses in the fall.”
Nonetheless, Dr. Small is hopeful that students and staff can return to campus when it is safe, even if it means wearing masks “could be our new normal.”