Online classes to remain as UMKC announces plans for spring semester

Connor Stewart

Students hoping for more in-person classes next semester will be disappointed. Along with the release of 2021 enrollment dates, UMKC announced the 2021 spring semester will look largely the same as the current fall session.

“Spring 2021 semester will look similar to Fall 2020,” said Stacy Downs, the Assistant Director of Strategic Communications for the university. “We have set a goal to conduct 50% of Spring Semester 2021 courses online and the other 50% in a face-to-face or hybrid format, with an emphasis of providing a larger percentage of lower division and professional courses face-to-face.”

The final plan for class assignments has yet to be determined, as Downs said the college must account for factors such as enrollment, class registration patterns, classroom and faculty availability and public health recommendations to get an accurate plan in place. 

With this semester being the first full semester of schooling during the pandemic, students and faculty have had to adapt to the situation. However, there are still frustrations among students. 

“I was a bit frustrated this semester when I signed up for all in-person classes, and then the day before classes started, they told me it was online,” said junior communications major Joeli Toscano. “I felt that should have been clearer from the get-go.”

Other students have chosen to make the best of the situation despite the new challenges. 

“The Zoom format for our classes and its integration with Canvas, Panapto, etc. gives me the tools necessary to learn efficiently under the circumstances,” said Lawrence Brooks, a junior communications major. 

Toscano said she enjoyed being able to take class anywhere she chose, but found it hard to concentrate during her courses unless the teacher required cameras and microphones to be turned on. 

The continued push for online classes has worked well for some students that feel uncomfortable returning to in-person learning.

“I do not feel safe returning to classes until there is a comprehensive coordinated response on a federal, state, and local level,” said Brooks.

Toscano said she thinks the college should offer a combination of online and in-person classes for the next semester. She plans to take a mixture of both formats, as she enjoyed both this semester. 

At the time of writing, UMKC has reported a total of 169 cases among students and faculty. The university has stated previously that it is pleased with the relatively low number of cases and credits the students and faculty for their compliance with the regulations this semester. They encouraged students to continue wearing face masks and socially distancing when transitioning into the spring 2021 session.

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