The University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Provost’s Office for Academic Affairs released a survey on Wednesday, July 15, to students within an email inquiring on the student consensus on the fall 2020 semester.
This one question survey requested student opinion on whether or not students would prefer to return to campus for in-person classes, take their classes remotely or were unsure.
The survey was not anonymous, with the students having a deadline of July 22 to give their input.
The survey is intended to allow for UNH to adequately prepare for the fall 2020 semester by determining what courses can and should be held remotely. Courses that use labs or have extensive fieldwork will most likely remain in person. Courses that can be held remotely and/or are too large may remain digital.
Students have the ability to check what courses will be held remotely or in person on WebCat and on the UNH courses website, as well as contact their advisors to request a change to their schedule on WebCat. Students will be able to modify their registration beginning July 22.
Erika Mantz, the executive director media relations and spokesperson, outlined the administration’s reasoning for the lack of anonymity in the survey.
“We have heard from students with underlying health conditions or other personal reasons who want to try to complete the fall semester remotely. We wanted to give them the opportunity to self-identify and provide information that directs them to academic advisors for support to help them plan their curriculum so that they can graduate in a timely manner.”
With this, the university is holding courses in person, in a hybrid format, and remotely. However, each individual college has a responsibility to set their own standards.
“We offer online classes every semester. This fall, courses will be in person, blended and online. There is no exact percentage and it will depend on the needs of each individual college as they try to build the best curriculum for our students,” said Mantz.
UNH also believes that this data will help to keep the institution on track to be prepared for students returning in the fall.
“We are on track to be ready for the fall. The purpose of the email was to respond to the request for some students for the availability of being remote. Remote instruction could come through an online course or through a blended course where students are zooming in. Not all courses will be available remotely.”
However, this information is contradictory from President James W. Dean Jr.’s email regarding the reopening of the university sent to students on May 8. In this email, Dean outlined that greater flexibility would be offered with each course.
“There will be options and flexibility for your education. Classes will be offered in a blended format to ensure access for everyone. Students can choose to stay home, be on campus and go to class, or be on campus but only attend some classes in person,” the email stated.
According to the Office of the Provost, Wayne Jones Jr., certain classes will not be blended, preventing students from staying home to prevent infection. Students will not have full flexibility in their coursework if they remain at risk but attend courses that involve labs or fieldwork.
This adjustment to the fall 2020 schedule is just another investment UNH has made to keep students safe. In a Q&A with Durham residents on July 16, Dean outlined that students will be provided with self-testing kits, mandatory testing before returning to campus and regularly throughout the semester, as well as a mandatory mask requirement where social distancing isn’t possible and in public spaces. Students who do not follow guidelines will be given a warning or sent home, and in severe cases be separated from the university.
For further information on the University’s response to COVID-19, visit unh.edu/coronavirus.