Students shift online after COVID-19 cases rise in Michigan.

Meg Speaks, Design Editor

The fall 2020 semester will stay in the minds of college students across the country, and depending on the major, school and professors, feelings about the semester will be a wide range of emotions.  

At Oakland University only 10% of classes were continued in person.  There were also hybrid classes and online classes that were either asynchronous or synchronous, meaning that some were fully online with no meetings and some used video platforms, like Google Meet and Zoom. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the Office of Communications sent out an email to all staff and students that a majority of the limited in-person classes will be moved online.  

The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan has risen substantially, over 6,000 new cases daily, and according to the Oakland University’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 149 cases related to the university since October 31. 

Ethan Tiong, a junior environmental science and biology student at OU, believes that Oakland University’s professors have been handling the pandemic admirably and making sure the students will have access to lectures if they are in person or choose to stay home. 

But when it comes to Oakland University as a whole, it is a different story. 

“I think that the guidelines they’ve set are very good, however them enforcing it isn’t going too well,” Tiong said. “The pre screening on campus isn’t used often, if at all, to check if students should be on campus. I also feel like there should be temperature checks as well.”

These preventative measures put all the responsibility on the students, instead of the university.  

A senior secondary education and english major, Ashleigh Dubie believes Oakland should have been completely online from the beginning. 

“I think they should have made everything online, quite a few classes were still held in person until very, very recently,” Dubie said. 

Other students believe that OU is doing a great job keeping the students, staff and professors safe, especially compared to other universities in the state. 

“They [OU] put in place many protocols to ensure safe learning and in turn, OU did not have many cases unlike other schools,” Kaitlyn Woods, a senior Communication major, said.

Moving classes online, other than labs and engineering workshops, will protect those who were only coming to campus for a class or two.  This will also protect those who live and work on campus, limiting the amount of people they will come in contact with.

Online classes can be challenging, especially asynchronous, when there is no set time to meet as a class.  Communication with professors and clarity about assignments can be confusing and make students feel behind.  

Emily Morris, a senior communication and journalism major, said “It’s hard having only one type of learning because learning is more fluid than that.” 

This can especially affect students who are leaning on face-to-face learning for better understanding in their skills.  

Sydney Mott, a sophomore exercise science major, loved having her sign language class in person and relied on the interaction between students and the professor. This class was part of the classes that are forced to move completely online, even if there were safety measures in place. 

“I did feel safe. Everyone wore masks and the chairs were spaced out,” Mott said. “It’s kind of sad because I liked being able to go to class in person, but it’s a good thing that OU is trying to lessen the spread.”

But even if the classrooms were made to be safer by limiting the amount of people allowed in classrooms, spaced out chairs, and required masks, there is no way to keep students from hanging around each other.  

As the cases are rising to an all time high, Oakland made a safe decision to keep more students off campus.  

Even if no one is on campus, this semester will still be something OU students will not forget.

“It’s definitely been memorable — I wouldn’t necessarily label it as positive or negative, but it’s just been like ‘oh wow, this is very weird, won’t forget about that’ kind of thing,” said Tiong. 

This “very weird” experience has become our normal, but eventually students will fill the halls and classrooms of Oakland University without a care in the world.