U of I looks for input on restarting in-person classes

Coronavirus

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — As college students get ready for the upcoming fall semester, the University of Illinois is preparing its plan to possibly reopen classrooms.

U of I’s provost announced they are considering doing a hybrid online and in-person class system, depending on the future impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. But before a final decision is made, the university is asking for people’s input on this.

When the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to settle in, University of Illinois staff and students had to adjust to online classes. “At first, everyone was excited for a longer spring break, being at home and doing online classes for a week,” said Julian Martinez. A week of online classes turned into the rest of the semester at U of I as the pandemic stretched on.

For some students like Martinez, it was a challenge. “It’s just hard for me,personally, to stay focused and be motivated for school.” He missed the accountability that comes with in-person classes. “I was really considering taking the year off, either take a gap year or going to another school.”

A designated team started researching how to approach next semester. They considered strengths and weaknesses of several options and established a potential plan. The U of I provost said full face-to-face classes are highly unlikely to be an option for the fall, considering health and safety guidelines.

Now, they are considering a combination of in-person and online classes, but only if students and staff agree to cooperate with all safety guidelines. They will hold face-to-face instruction where it can have the most impact on student experience like labs, performance courses and peer interaction. In-person classes will stop on November 20. The beginning of fall break and the last couple weeks, including finals week, will be conducted remotely.

If the state has not reached Phase 4 of the governor’s Restore Illinois Plan, the university will continue with a fully online format. The provost is asking students and staff to read the full report and give their feedback through an online survey that was emailed out by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10.

University leaders said they hope to announce a plan for the upcoming fall semester later this month.

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