UNF students grapple with whether to return in-person

Mallory Pace, Volunteer Reporter

Yet another semester begins with COVID-19 continuing to change the way college students interact and learn. A pre-COVID world is getting harder to remember. Even though in-person classes have resumed, some are still remote or temporarily online, as many students are out sick. The changes and differences between the two can be drastic, and UNF students appeared conflicted with their preferences.  

The advantages and disadvantages of each learning environment differ heavily as each one comes with its own opportunities and weaknesses. In a remote environment, students have the opportunity to create a more flexible schedule, which can benefit working and off-campus students. However, a remote environment has made it difficult for students to experience the traditional sense of being in a classroom with fellow peers and the familiarity of engaging with the professor face-to-face, or mask-to-mask. 

Spinnaker recently polled students on social media, asking whether UNF should turn to remote classes due to the fact that the new Omicron variant has created a spike in positive cases across the nation and the UNF population. Of the 336 responses, 95 said UNF should go remote this semester, 166 voted no, and 75 voted it should for only part of the semester. 

Although there is a clear winner, the presence of conflicting opinions remains apparent. 

Of 336 votes, 60% of the respondents say UNF should keep classes in-person.
Results of Spinnaker Instagram Poll. Graphic by Carter Mudgett.

Oleander Barnas, a first-year studying anthropology and religion, commented on whether UNF should turn to remote classes: “We should go remote as no one wears masks and people are sick in class all the time,” he said. 

A senior majoring in Health Science, Jennifer Felder, had a different opinion on the matter: “We should not [switch to online classes] because we’ve lost so much interaction already with peers and professors,” said Felder.  

No matter the reason, UNF has repeatedly stated that they will continue to take the necessary and appropriate actions to keep students and faculty safe and healthy. 


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