As we get close to the start of the school year, colleges are beginning to announce their plans for the school year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to CDC guidance, most schools are expected to use a hybrid form, with some classes taking place in person and some taking place online. However, Harvard University has already announced that classes for the entire 2020-2021 school year will be entirely online.
Benefits and Shortfalls of Online Classes
For schools that go entirely online, there will be criticism and praise for the decision. One would be safety, since teachers and students would not interact in person, which reduces the risk of spreading COVID through an entire class and possibly more students and faculty. The other possible benefit goes to students who would not have to meet at a specific time, allowing them to do their daily or weekly work whenever they please and have time for a job or other activities, on or off campus.
One of the shortfalls of online class is obviously not being able to have person to person interaction, especially if students need help with an assignment or understanding a part of the class where they are struggling. Another issue that both students and universities will struggle with is cost of tuition and housing. Students and parents will not want to pay full price for tuition and fees if they will not be getting an in person education. This is the main complaint people have with Harvard, where tuition is $50,000 per year.
Obviously the priorities for universities have to be safety and health when students return to campus, although making sure students do not take part in activities that could spread COVID-19 will be impossible. However, if universities are unable to come up with a plan to keep students safe and healthy on campus, they need to consider all available options to make sure students can stay healthy and potentially return for either the spring semester or entire 2021-2022 school year.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.