Michigan State's Last-Minute Switch To Remote Frustrates Students Like Me
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Michigan State's Last-Minute Switch To Remote Frustrates Students Like Me

Michigan State backtracked their months of planning a hybrid style semester less than 15 days before the first day of classes.

Michigan State's Last-Minute Switch To Remote Frustrates Students Like Me

Previously published by The Detroit Newson Tuesday, August 25th, 2020. This piece has been and will continue to be exclusive to The Detroit News for all republication and copyright purposes.

After months of receiving informative emails about the university's plans to reopen the campus for a hybrid-style semester this fall, Michigan State University backtracked less than 15 days before the first day of classes.

"While a vast majority of our classes already were offered in remote formats, we will work the next two weeks to transition those that were in-person or hybrid to remote formats," said Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley in an email on Aug. 18.

As a proud MSU student, these unexpected, last-minute decisions leave me questioning how prepared my school is to navigate a fully online semester.

Since mid-June, I was told to expect changes in instruction mode for my fall courses, with about half of the university's classes being online, about a quarter of classes as hybrids and the remaining in-person classes taking place in larger rooms to allow for six-foot distancing. I was anticipating returning to campus in the fall with four online classes, one hybrid class and one fully in-person class. With these sudden changes, professors of my in-person and hybrid classes were given just two weeks to try to rewrite their entire course structure.

As of the time of writing, my in-person performance class will no longer be offered this fall since virtual learning robs us of our experience of being together, causing me to lose a credit. I am unsure of the fate of my hybrid class, which relied on an in-person lab portion. I am left wondering if professors will be able to effectively rework their courses to online instruction in just two weeks.

This new development also states that students who planned to live in dorms on campus must now stay where they are just over a week before their anticipated move-in dates.

"Effective immediately, we are asking undergraduate students who planned to live in our residence halls this fall to stay home and continue their education with MSU remotely," Stanley said.

This is an outrageous request to make last-minute, knowing that students who are employed as RAs and ICAs already moved in last weekend. As of now, these students do not know if they will continue to be employed for this semester.

Living on campus is a fundamental part of college, especially for freshmen who make up a large portion of the students that live in dorms. Even in a hybrid-style semester that aimed to keep students "socially engaged while physically distanced," it allowed them to interact with others in their shared living space. You can only get to know your peers so well through Zoom calls and group chats.

MSU encouraged off-campus students to consider staying in their home communities, although some of them are undoubtedly in binding leases not affiliated with the university and are therefore not entitled to any financial relief from the school.

Michigan State's sudden, seemingly rushed decisions are confusing and frustrating students like me who have spent their summers trying to prepare for the challenges and uncertainties this semester is going to throw at them.

Until just recently, the university presented itself as ready to welcome its students, faculty and staff back to campus similar to many other Michigan universities. It's curious that MSU waited until five days after the minimum tuition and fee payment was due to make the announcement that classes will be remote.

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