ASHLAND, Ore. — Southern Oregon University said it is shifting its reopening plan to start offering more virtual class options for the fall 2020 term due to COVID-19.
“Flexibility has always been a really big part of our reopening plan and this is why. The virus is obviously still spreading in southern Oregon and across the state and we knew that we were going to need to be able to pivot quickly depending on the circumstances,” Joe Mosley, director of communication and media relations, said.
Mosley explained up to a third of classes will be offered in person, and the full list of them will be released in the coming weeks.
“Courses and labs that just don’t translate well to remote or online instruction, those are going to be the ones that are offered on campus,” Mosley said.
An upcoming sophomore at SOU, Siena Schofield, said she was hoping classes would be offered in person this term, or at least be mostly hybrid.
“I do not learn well remotely. I learn really well with other people, I work really well in groups, that’s what helps me learn,” Schofield said.
Schofield is a theater major, and she explained a lot of her classes need to be in person and are almost impossible to try and do virtually.
“My voice lessons were also online and I had to deal with technical difficulties while trying to sing basically over the phone which creates other issues,” Schofield said.
Schofield said she is still completely unsure of what her school schedule will look like for the fall term, and if she will have any in-person classes at all.
“I don’t know if any of my classes are going to be in person. I was really hoping that they would be because theatre classes are generally capped out at smaller numbers,” Schofield said.
She explained because of the uncertainty surrounding the situation, it makes it hard for her to be able to plan even a few weeks ahead.
“If I have to do all remote, I don’t think my parents and I can just afford to just use that money to send me to go live in Ashland to just do online classes, which then creates another problem because I’m not in an environment with other people who are studying,” Schofield said.
Mosley said on-campus housing will be open for the fall term, they will just not have as many occupants as they usually would.
Another thing Schofield said she worries about is whether or not she will have to pay full tuition.
“I’m still paying full price to go to college, I’m still paying all of that money for classes that are supposed to be in-person instruction but instead I am learning half of it myself,” Schofield said.
Mosley said the Board of Trustees is discussing if there could be a tuition change for next term, but said he is not sure when that decision will be made.
Schofield said she hopes if most of her classes are virtual, that staff and faculty at the school will be understanding how difficult this is for some students.
“I think we all just, everyone needs to learn how to be understanding lenient towards everyone and everything that’s going on,” Schofield said.