Opinion: Are in-person classes worth the risk?

When considering student’s lives outside of school, I have often thought about the opportunities I have missed because I chose to attend a number of in-person classes this year.

This semester, more than ever, I have found myself questioning whether or not online classes are worth the time and effort. However, as the semester progresses, I now find myself asking the same about in-person classes.

At the beginning of the spring semester, I had three face-to-face classes planned for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. After a few weeks of attending the in-person classes, I discovered that the advantages of online classes immensely outweighed the advantages of being in person.

Yes, students and staff wear their masks in class. However, we are not seated six feet apart, which makes me feel uneasy. Soon enough, seats started becoming more vacant and teachers went without addressing the decline of students in each of my in-person classes. 

Photo by Abbey Nimegeers | The Arbiter

Eventually, one of my professors made the executive decision to transfer our in-person learning environment to a completely virtual classroom, which eased many concerns and lifted many schedule complications I had previously faced.

Aside from the turmoil that comes with attending in-person classes, I was also challenged with balancing my work schedule and my school schedule. My boss is very lenient and has adjusted my work schedule to accommodate my academic schedule. Although, as I continued to attend these classes face-to-face, I couldn’t help but wonder what the consequences of me choosing work over school would entail.

As important as a college education is to my family and me, making a substantial income to support my individual needs can be just as important, if not more. Living alone in Boise is possible, but it is not necessarily easy.

I was tasked with considering the advantages and disadvantages to working more during the week and not attending a specific class in person. What was more important to me: working and building a more stable income, or going to a class where the lectures become redundant and almost unnecessary?

Despite the sparse amount of in-person classes this year due to the pandemic, campus has yet to shut down. If you miss the campus atmosphere, it is still possible to engage with students and staff in a safe manner. The Albertson’s Library is still available to Boise State students and faculty, which may provide an outlet for those itching to engage in campus culture once again.  

I had three months of my freshman year robbed from me last year due to the introduction of the coronavirus pandemic. I do miss going to campus for class because it allowed me to interact with the student body and faculty a lot more.

For me, learning in person is highly desirable but the consolidation to the online environment has almost been more advantageous for me academically, mentally and occupationally. In addition, attending Zoom classes should be highly demanded amongst the student and staff population because it will allow us to return to a full in-person campus experience in the future, which I believe is what most of the student body wants for their college experience. 
Yes, there have been many concerns surrounding the mental wellness of students who are forced to learn online. Despite this, I feel as if this is the most versatile and flexible our professors have been and I am almost inclined to believe that online classes are better than in-person classes.

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