3.1.18 Empty Classroom

An empty classroom in Allen Hall on Thursday, March 1, 2018. 

Next semester, professors can choose whether or not they want their classes to be online or in person. Some professors, including mass communications professor Robert Mann, would rather go online to avoid coronavirus spread. 

Mann decided to teach his classes online for not only sake of his health, but the sake of his students learning. He feels as though it's better to start online rather than experiencing another emergency switch to online. 

“I personally think that it's very likely that the fall semester is going to be online for everybody, like Harvard and Princeton are doing now,” Mann said. “It's always felt to me overly optimistic that we could do the whole semester in person if we wanted to.”

Mann thinks LSU is taking measures to keep campus safe; however, it does not seem like it will be enough. Compared to the recommendation from the CDC for college campuses, it does not seem like the University taking the necessary precautions to protect older and at-risk faculty members. 

“I think LSU is doing the best job they can, I suppose,” Mann said. “But I think if they had the resources and the money and manpower and all that, I think they could do a better job,” Mann said.

Mann recalled an online faculty briefing with Interim President Tom Galligan and Vice Provost Stacia Haynie where they were reassuring faculty and staff that doorknobs would be cleaned once a day. 

“I thought, they aren’t already cleaning them once a day?” Mann asked. 

Mann has been doing a lot of research on how to best conduct an online class. Although his first time teaching online was the spring semester, he is taking a course offered by LSU on how to put together an online course.

Many students are more excited than skeptical about the return, including chemical engineering junior Hunter Meatte. 

“I feel like it’s going to be a lot different with everything that’s happened with the coronavirus, but I’m also excited because we left so abruptly last semester, so it will be kind of nice to see everyone interact again,” Meatte said. 

The LSU Manship School of Mass Communication recently launched a social media campaign encouraging students to mask up upon their return. Sports administration senior Gavin Assevedo is among many students committed to preventing virus spread on campus. 

“I will definitely wear one when I can spread out from my classmates,” Assavedo said. 

It's questionable whether or not students will be allowed to return to campus at all; many other prominent universities committed to a fully virtual semester. 

“I think it’s really nice that LSU is trying to work with us because I know that a lot of other campuses around the country are staying closed and are completely online,” Meatte said. “The students I’ve talked to, a lot of students want to go back, so I think they’re hearing what we’re saying, but they are trying to keep it as safe as they can and as healthy as they can with still working with the students.”

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