Between frustratingly long dining hall lines and a campus-wide power outage, here are the major events you need to know about the first week of Spring Semester:
Last minute changes, little communication about classes
Kevin Pan | For The Post
Spring Semester of an unprecedented school year began with over 3,000 students moving back to campus, some with in-person classes. However, the new semester still presented many challenges for both students and faculty.
Some students reported feeling anxious in the days before the beginning of the semester due to last-minute communications and changes to many students’ courses. Some did not receive their syllabi from professors until the first day of classes, an issue they said they did not face during the Fall Semester.
Professors also faced difficulties adapting courses to accommodate all students. Some still do not feel comfortable resuming face-to-face instruction with the risk of contracting the coronavirus but think an online education compromises what students are paying for.
Hour-long lines at the dining halls
Many students reported waiting in up to hour-long lines at the dining halls during their first week back on campus at OU as a result of COVID-19 policies implemented in the dining halls.
These lines became the source of frustration for many students during their return to campus. On Jan. 20, OU released OHIO EATS, a new app designed with COVID-19 policies in mind that allows students to order and pick up food from The Front Room Coffeehouse, Boyd Market and Shively Grab N’ Go, which was recently reopened after Shively’s permanent closure last spring.
No announcement on possible usage of S/NC grading system this semester
Kelsey Boeing | Director of Photography
OU has not yet reinstated the alternative satisfactory/no credit, or S/NC, grading system that it implemented last spring after students were sent home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Several student-ran petitions have been created urging OU to reinstate the system.
Many students are worried their grades may suffer due to virtual learning and the distractions that campus life brings and are thus motivated to sign these petitions in support of the S/NC grading system.
One petition was created by Student Senate Vice President Elizabeth Lilly. Lilly said she and her fellow senate members will present a bill urging the university to reinstate the option at the next Senate meeting.
As of Jan. 26, Lilly’s petition has over 650 signatures.
Power outages across Southeast Ohio
Katie Baneck | For The Post
The corner of Union and Court St. in Athens, Ohio, on Jan. 22, 2021 during the county wide power outage.
OU’s Athens campus was among one of the over 18,000 power outages reported across Southeast Ohio during Friday afternoon.
The outage was caused by a broken high-voltage power line on Route 13 outside of Chauncey, which connects to an AEP Ohio station supplying power to homes and buildings across Athens County.
During the outage, OU sent text alerts to all students about the outage and where to seek updates. Classes for the rest of the day were also canceled. While residence halls lost all power, campus Wi-Fi was still usable for students during the outage.
Nelson Court and The District on West Green were open as scheduled Friday, with other locations closed until power came back Saturday.
A virtual spring commencement being planned
Kevin Pan | For The Post
About 800 students received their diplomas at Fall Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.
OU announced Jan. 19 it is in the planning stages for a virtual spring commencement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to possible community spread, the university cited ongoing public health orders limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer individuals as a reason for a virtual graduation. A university commencement planning team is planning the event already, and OU’s Office of Conference and Event Services will contact graduates in the coming weeks with more information on how they can be included in the ceremony.
OU also said it is ready to re-evaluate plans for commencement if the trajectory of the pandemic or public health guidelines change.
The Ohio State University is also opting for a virtual spring commencement this year. Both Miami University and Bowling Green State University have not decided on their spring commencement format yet.
Abby Miller, Molly Wilson and Sophia Young contributed to this report.