COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Tens of thousands of Ohio State University students are back on campus in Columbus Monday for the first day of the spring semester and in-person classes.
However, some professors said in-person learning isn’t the best idea right now, with COVID-19 cases spiking across the state and the country.
While those professors said they love being in the classroom in front of students, now is not the right time for it.
Moritz College of Law professor Guy Rub pointed to the high number of COVID-19 cases across the state and the situation at hospitals as reasons for switching to remote learning at least for a while.
“This was the weird thing today,” Rub said. “It was so much fun to be in person and to have so many people together, but it’s also, I’m not sure it serves the community at large.”
One of his colleagues at the law school tweeted saying OSU having in-person classes this week doesn’t feel safe, supportive, or understanding.
Rub said there are many ways remote learning cannot top in-person, but he said remote is a better option right now.
“My main concern is why are we in person right now,” he said. “I’m not sure there is a good justification for it. We all know the numbers in Ohio are going through the roof. We all know our healthcare system is getting more and more COVID patients.”
Rub said he’s grateful for all of the steps the school has taken, but added Ohio State should be remote for a couple of weeks, like other universities, then return to in-person learning.
“If someone needs to be in the lab, the lab will be in-person, while if someone needs to hear a lecture, the lecture can be on Zoom,” he said. “I think that would make more sense versus one size fits all, which does not fit all.”
Some university students said they’re OK with learning in person despite the current state of the pandemic.
“It is something we should worry about, but also, at the same time, I think everyone’s kind of just restless with the online classes and you can’t get as involved,” student Haven Tattersall said.
“Seeing the professors, seeing the other students, just that energy, just all together, there’s nothing like it,” student Seanquez Frye said.
The university has put in updated safety measures to start the semester: masks will be required in all indoor areas, students will be tested weekly regardless of vaccination status, and dining hall capacity will be capped at 40%, among other measures.
An Ohio State University spokesperson pointed out 92.5% of the university community is vaccinated against the virus and said, in part, “We are monitoring closely and will adjust our health and safety protocols if needed based on the latest scientific data and public health guidance.”
“They’ve done a lot of good things at OSU here,” Rub said. “I think we can be even better.”
The spokesman also pointed out that the decisions on in-person or remote learning are made working with the university senate, which includes faculty, staff, and students.
Additionally, Ohio State University President Dr. Kristina Johnson will be teaching this semester, returning to the classroom this week.