Students size up return of onsite classes

Reactions to the return of onsite classes are varied with many students excited to meet their classmates and teachers in person. Others were apprehensive about the challenges and adjustments to be made.

Diana Salonoy, a psychology student, entered college during the pandemic and spent the first two years attending online classes.

“I’m happy that face-to-face classes have resumed. For the first time, I saw my classmates and block mates,” Salonoy said. “We can feel the school atmosphere and use whatever facilities the school offers.”
However, Salonoy said she has been having a hard time commuting to and from school.

“Since I’m not staying in a dormitory, it takes me three to four hours to travel every day. And there is the danger of Covid-19 infection. It’s tiring, that’s why I try to get a schedule that won’t require me to go to school daily,” she said.

Salonoy said she’s slowly adjusting to in-person classes.

“There are social anxieties, like how to approach my classmates when we get to meet for the first time,” she said.

Rita (not her real name), a fourth-year civil engineering student, talked about the challenges they faced after two years of remote learning.

“To be honest, I’m one of the students who are very excited to have onsite classes. But as the classes approach, I realized it’s hard to adjust quickly. After being used to online classes for two years, you tend to get war-shocked when you attend onsite classes,” she said.

Some schools adopt both onsite and online classes, something that students have to deal with, according to Rita.

“For me, it’s a good thing that not all courses are onsite. It’s good because we still need to follow protocols. The pandemic is still here. One good thing is that major subjects are prioritized and held on site.”

“The setup of having three straight hours of discussion without asynchronous is not good for me and our friends. It’s draining. Come to think of it, you are attending classes and then, while traveling you still need to comply with the recitations. You have to open the mic and camera while you’re on your way because you still have onsite classes,” she added.

Not all schools, however, have resumed face-to-face classes.

These include five state colleges and universities, including the University of the Philippines.

Tina, a fourth-year broadcasting student, was disappointed over her school’s decision to retain mostly remote mode of learning for its students.

“It seems like they are not ready. 2022 is about to end but our setup is still 2020,” she said.

Tina is still enrolled in online learning mode since 2020, including a purely online internship as part of her academic requirements.

She believes schools should strike a balance between caution and readiness in offering quality education and services to students and stakeholders.

“While we remain cautious of the situation, they should continue to anticipate the possibilities around learning setups by this time. They should remain aggressive and proactive in pushing for systems that would benefit stakeholders,” Tina said.

Mary, a third-year communication research student, prefers mixed online and face-to-face setups.

She said she doesn’t have Wi-Fi. “What I have is my mobile phone and data,” she said

Mary said schools must address how instructors treat students with lesser resources, especially in giving heavy workloads.

“This is to ensure inclusivity for all students during challenging times, such as the pandemic,” she said.

“I hope professors will understand that students shifted to a new mode of learning so that they won’t be left behind. I’m expecting them to take into consideration the students’ situations before they give a difficult workload. It is no excuse for them to be strict and raise high expectations from their students,” Mary said.

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