By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez
Students are giving mixed reactions to FDU’s initial rollout of plans to reopen campus in the fall — just a few months away.
The semester will begin a week earlier, on Monday, Aug. 17, and exams will finish on Tuesday, Nov. 24, just before Thanksgiving. To make this work, fall break and one of two reading days are canceled. FDU President Christopher Capuano announced this structure, the work of several university task forces, on May 29.
“I’m for it. To be done by Thanksgiving, and have nothing to come back to after [Thanksgiving], would be great,” Elijah Woodard, a rising junior communications major, told The Equinox via text. “You can just relax and enjoy the holidays. It will be a bit crammed, so it might be stressful for students. But, overall, I think we can handle it.”
Nadia Tejeda, a rising sophomore finance major, agreed.
“I don’t mind having the October break eliminated in the new schedule since we will be having a longer winter break,” Tejeda said via text.
The fall semester will progress in a hybrid academic schedule, with the first three weeks taught online followed by in-person instruction starting after Labor Day, Sept. 8. However, this may all be modified for extended remote learning should the situation change, Capuano said.
“I think the fall semester plan seems a bit confusing with having the first three weeks to be online, but I do think it’s a smart move on behalf of the university to take any safety precautions,” Tejeda said.
Jamia Baker, a rising sophomore and biochemistry major, looks at how this affects students academically.
“I feel like this does diminish the quality of our education — not everyone finds it easy to learn online,” Baker said. “It is easier to cheat in online classes. To me, getting a good grade in an online class does not feel as good as getting a good grade in a face-to-face class. Personally, it won’t feel like I worked to my full potential.”
Photo provided by Jamia Baker
Ana Gjorgjeva, a rising sophomore and political science major, agrees with Baker.
“I like that the school is doing everything to keep us safe. I just hope we have in-person classes because I benefit from them more than online classes,” Gjorgjeva said.
While the May 29 update may have assuaged student insecurities, the wording seemed to raise more questions and concerns.
“As a commuter, I’m not 100% sure about going in-person yet,” Soha Akhtar, a rising sophomore health science major, said via text. “I just have a bad feeling since everyone is coming back soon, it’s going to be crazy. It will be a little harder online, but I don’t know yet.”
Baker, a biochem major, also doesn’t feel certain about this proposed scenario.
“[FDU] did present a reasonable solution for the problem right now,” Baker said. “But I am concerned about how things will remain from now on.”
On the topic of feeling safe, Tejeda, the finance major, believes that it’s up to the individual.
“I would feel safe returning to campus because I myself am not just letting the university do what they’re supposed to do to ensure our health and safety,” Tejeda said. “I will obviously do my part to make sure I am taking the necessary precautions.”
Tejeda added that if the number of COVID-19 cases goes down, then all should resume as planned, yet it doesn’t seem likely to her.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s realistic if the entire country is still in the state that we’re in,” she said. “But I really do hope that we can get on campus and be the FDU community that creates perpetual changes.”