Students and faculty react to SIU plans for the fall semester

Students and faculty react to SIU plans for the fall semester

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Southern Illinois University Chancellor Austin Lane said he wants the fall 2021 semester to look more like the fall of 2019, before the pandemic struck.

If all health guidelines head in the right direction, the university is hoping students will come back to campus in Carbondale for in-person classes.

On Thursday, the chancellor laid out his thoughts on a university blog.

“I think it’s important, but also the health of everybody is really important too,” said Junior Alivia Hall.

She was talking about the chance to spend her entire fall semester of her senior year on campus.

The biology major talked about the in-person lab she’s taking right now.

“We take all the safety precautions, we social distance, it’s a lot of fun. It’s really nice to actually get hands-on. Biweekly we do an in person lab,” Hall said.

Hall found success in online learning, but missed being in the classroom and her sorority house.

“I really just miss being able to have that one-on-one interaction with my sisters,” Hall said.

Freshman Kaylee Anderson is taking classes in one the largest halls on campus. She said she feels safe while learning in-person.

“We sit far away from each other,” Anderson said. “We have to sit on a specific chair that has SIU on it. I think it’s really safe and I think if we continue to do that then we can make it work.”

Anderson, an animal science major, hoped the trend continues.

“SIU is doing a really good job because everywhere I go, as long as we’re inside, people have masks on,” she said.

Dr. Marcus Odom serves as faculty senate president. Odom taught in-person last semester.

“We had a distance in the room, they separated things out, they had all the PPE equipment in the room available and so I did a hybrid class predominately,” said Odom.

This semester, by chance, all of Odom’s classes are online.

He said faculty had the choice of how they wanted their classes to look.

Moving forward, Odom said he looked forward to working with leadership to get back in the classroom.

“Been very pleased, and that the university has worked with the faculty and the students they’ve had our voices heard when they’re making decisions,” said Odom.

The future of in-person learning still hangs on the next few months.

“It would be really nice if we could get back to normal, but who knows what normal will be in the future,” said Hall.

The university enacted it’s Saluki Safety COVID-19 guidelines in July of 2020.

The current semester ends for students May 7, 2021. Students will return to classes for the fall semester on August 16, 2021

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