Wright State Campus | Photo by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian
The Wright State University (WSU) Faculty Union is asking the university to increase flexibility with remote class options and require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated to return to campus.
Letter to Edwards
In a letter to WSU President Susan Edwards, the WSU American Association for University Professors (AAUP) addressed rising concerns about the Delta Variant, urging the university to take action.
“Unfortunately, we are facing another surge that is likely to have an incidence rate as high or higher than what we have seen previously. The Delta variant is significantly more contagious than the original variant and is highly likely to have a greater impact on younger people and those working in enclosed environments such as classrooms,” the letter from the executive committee of the AAUP-WSU, said.
In the letter, the faculty union mentioned how faculty, staff and administration worked together to minimize coronavirus outbreaks and develop a strategy during previous semesters. The union stated that planning ahead was essential, but essentially the quick move to a virtual format was hectic.
“Recall that in March of 2020, when we were abruptly forced to switch to remote teaching mid-semester, things were initially chaotic, learning was disrupted, and consequently students, staff, and faculty paid the price for lack of adequate pre-planning for the pandemic,” the letter said.
In response to the concerns, AAUP-WSU asked Edwards to allow faculty to have more flexibility with remote delivery and allow faculty to make the choice to move online now if they desire to do so. In addition, the union is also asking for adjustments to be made to in-person classes to allow for social distancing.
Finally, the union urged the university to require all students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus to be vaccinated upon approval of the FDA or if legislation undoes the ban on vaccine mandates in the state of Ohio.
The current legislation bill prohibits state schools and universities from requiring students, staff and faculty to receive vaccinations not fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Several WSU students said they would be disappointed if more classes were to move online.
“Part of me would be very disappointed [if my classes went online] because it is my freshman year of college. I want to be able to experience the whole college thing, but of course if its dependent on people’s safety that concern doesn’t matter,” Freshman Charlie Reader Jr. said. “We should be doing what makes everyone safe and comfortable and allows everyone to be happy and healthy.
For Freshman and Criminal Justice major Zach Monin, having an in-person environment improves his learning experience.
“I am not a big fan of the online classes because I like the face to face personal time,” Monin said. “I feel like that gives me a better learning experience and helps me understand better.”
WSU Student Sam Chelman is worried about increased distractions from online learning.
“I don’t like the idea [of more classes going online] because you’ve got a lot more distractions on your computer, Netflix, social media,” Chelman said. “I prefer staying in person.”
Others are looking forward to communication in person and meeting new people, which is significantly more difficult online.
“I wanted to come on campus to get that campus experience and meet new people,” WSU student Elkana Kpadea said. “I think we should have some options for online for those who don’t feel comfortable, but I think it should be mandatory for most classes to be face to face, for people like me who want to have a social life with other students.”
When it comes to requiring vaccinations, several students agreed that vaccinations are important, but should not necessarily be mandated.
“I have been vaccinated for about five and a half months,” Reader said. “I am for vaccination if it is the best choice for you. Obviously, there are some people, my sister for example has a lot of health issues that prevent her from getting vaccinated.”
Chelman had to get vaccinated for a vacation he went on this summer, but does not think anyone should be forced to get vaccinated.
“Especially if its proven that you can get the virus even if you get the vaccine,” Chelman said. “However, if it gets it away sooner and gets the masks off inside, I am all for it.”
Kpadea believes vaccination should be an option, especially for those who are not able to receive it.
“One of my friends, he applied to some colleges and all of them required vaccinations. He doesn’t react well to vaccines, and so he said that he’s not going to college because of that,” Kpadea said. “So for me, just let it be an option.”
WSU is not currently requiring vaccinations, but is still under an indoor mask mandate.
The Wright State Guardian has requested a comment from the university but has not received a response.