COVID Still A Concern But Fall Semester A Success, Students Say
Students view their fall semester learning experience relatively positive—despite COVID-19 still preventing a full return to normalcy.
Kaplan’s latest Student Voice survey, conducted Nov. 15-23, found that more students (34%) rated the semester going better than expected with most citing in-person classes, social opportunities, and professors’ understanding of student challenges as the top drivers. 22% of the 2,000 students surveyed believed the semester was going worse, Inside Higher Ed reports.
RETURN TO IN-PERSON LEARNING
One-third of students surveyed said they felt that their institution was well-prepared for a return to in-person learning this past fall. More than half of students surveyed said they felt safe from COVID-19 on campus. Views on the necessity of COVID mitigation measures are widely driven by political beliefs with 42% of Republicans saying the measures have not been necessary compared to only 11% of Democrats.
PANDEMIC FATIGUE STILL HIGH
Despite many colleges returning to campus this fall, many students are still very much fatigued from the realities of the pandemic. 60% of students say they are still struggling, rating their mental health this semester as fair or poor.
Many students were concerned about a return to campus this past fall due to the Delta variant (the survey was taken before the onset of the Omicron variant). Six in 10 students surveyed recall feeling at least somewhat stressed about the uncertainty of returning.
But this fall was a close return to somewhat normalcy on campuses across the nation. Kaplan’s survey found that six in 10 students reported socializing this semester either more than ever before or more than in the spring.
At High Point University, many student clubs and organizations began holding in-person meetings and events again after going virtual in the spring.
“Once in a while you have a virtual speaker, but everyone is meeting and hanging out in person,” Joseph Maronski, a junior, tells Inside Higher Ed.
With the arrival of the Omicron variant, however, colleges and universities are again struggling to find a balance of normalcy in a pandemic that seems to have no end in sight. Columbia University, Duke University, and the University of California at Los Angeles are among a growing number of institutions that are planning to shift back to remote learning come January.
Sources: Inside Higher Ed, Washington Post
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