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Are Classes Really Socially Distant?

With students and faculty attending in-person classes, many question if the classrooms are actually set up for social distancing and safety during COVID-19.

Drake University has required all rooms to be cleaned in between classes to ensure the safety of those utilizing the room next. The setup of the classrooms has also been adjusted to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Zoe Sax, a sophomore at Drake, said that the school has done their best given the classroom size, but still doesn’t feel like she is the recommended six feet away from her peers.  

“Again, although it’s technically not six feet apart, I’m comfortable with the distance because we aren’t super close and we all have masks on not facing each other, so the distance is a small factor,” Sax said.

Chris Snider, an associate professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said he is impressed by what Drake and the students have done to social distance in class. His only challenge is being able to hear his students occasionally. 

Snider said he teaches in large lecture rooms with chairs that are roped off for social distancing purposes that have helped students easily maneuver through class safely.

“I’ve been impressed with how Drake set up the rooms to be socially distant,” Snider said. “We are all adults here, so it seems like people are respecting each other’s space in my classrooms.”

Jeanette Tran, an assistant professor of English at Drake, said she feels the classrooms are “adequately arranged in a way that allows for social distancing.”

Tran said her biggest class has seven in-person students in a classroom that would normally sit 22.

“I just wish we had bigger classrooms so I could meet with more students who want in-person instruction at once, but I can’t raise new, more spacious buildings just because of COVID,” Tran said. 

Besides professors feeling safe, many students have also felt similarly and appreciative to still have the option to attend classes virtually. 

Marisa Morris, a senior at Drake, said the school has done a good job at limiting the number of students in classrooms and making the classrooms distant. She enjoys the hybrid learning model because of the great combination of learning styles “even though it’s sometimes confusing when each professor sets things up differently.”

“I was initially very worried about my health being on campus, but the precautions Drake is taking make me feel safe here,” Morris said. 

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