Faculty and students are preparing to resume online classes in the fall semester if necessary due to developments with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drake Provost Sue Mattison said the faculty are working on initiatives to be prepared for the fall semester.
Mattison said depending on the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, “We may be required to be completely online, allowed to return to normal operations, or most likely, return to campus with health and safety modifications such as social distancing while being ready to return to remote delivery if another outbreak occurs.”
Students were sent a survey to see their opinions and concerns on the University’s actions during the pandemic and what the faculty can do to improve.
Mattison said the faculty has been learning from the survey and addressing concerns from students and other faculty members.
Kim Smith, an adjunct instructor at Drake University, said he has learned from his experience with online classes in the spring semester and is preparing for either regular classroom or online learning for the fall.
“I taught online courses for the first time in the spring semester. Based on that experience, I’ll make some changes if the course is taught online again, including using Zoom to encourage more interaction,” Smith said.
Besides courses, students are concerned about what not returning in the fall would do to their college experience and the connections they would have made if they were on campus.
Camryn Huyser, a first-year student at Drake, said she feels she would lose part of her college experience and a chance to live in the dorms one more time.
“I think that it will be really disappointing if we do not get to come back this fall. There are so many fun things on campus during that time, and I personally would be devastated,” Huyser said.
Since they would be missing part of their college experience, some wonder how they will stay connected to Drake if they are not on campus and able to participate in clubs and organizations.
Michael Bell, a first-year student at Drake and a newly elected student senator, said he is concerned about the effects of online education.
As a student senator, Bell said he wants to make sure every student feels supported during this difficult time.
“If campus remains closed, I will do my best to advocate for the students’ needs first,” Bell said. “It is important that our students feel connected to their university when they aren’t able to be present at Drake.”
Since the spring semester has been online for the majority of the time, faculty will continue to learn from the experience and prepare for the fall semester.
As of now, students are currently expected to attend the fall semester on campus. The situation may change for the safety and health of the community.
Drake University will continue to send updates to students and faculty during the pandemic.