Spring 2021 semester specifics undecided


As the fall 2020 semester ends, many students have found themselves wondering what the upcoming semester will look like. Will Zoom meetings and social distancing requirements remain or will the university revert to old policies?

According to Alberto Ruiz, the vice president of Academic Affairs, student safety is ULM’s top priority during the coronavirus pandemic. All decisions about spring 2021 will stem from what is believed to be the safest option for students, faculty and staff. And as of right now, that appears to be continuing with the same precautions put in place this semester. 

“Student safety is our main priority as well as safety for faculty and staff,” Ruiz said.

ULM will be using four class models: Face-to-face, hybrid, hybrid-flex and online. Ultimately, how each class will function is based on which classroom the instructor or professor has been assigned. All the classrooms on campus have been evaluated to see if and how many students can safely fit inside at one time.

“The professor or instructor of record should notify students as to what days will be in face-to-face mode or Zoom mode,” Ruiz said. “Communication is and will continue to be the key to success in every class.”

For RSOs and other student organizations, restrictions of in-person events and meetings will remain in place until further notice, according to Meagan Lee, the assistant director of Student Life and Leadership.

“I would like to remain optimistic that the RSO restrictions will lessen, but that will only happen if the state mandates and CDC guidelines allow,” Lee said. “I would love to see our RSOs thriving again with in-person events, but only time will tell if that is the best decision for the safety of our campus.”

Lanye Normand, a pre-nursing major, said that she finds it difficult to learn through Zoom. She would prefer the benefits of getting to see your professors and classmates each week. Not only that but Normand also feels as if she is losing out on the college experience.

“It is so depressing not being able to go to class, meet new people, take part in all the college activities and just try to enjoy my college years,” Normand said.

Other students, like Kameron Clinton, are happy with the sacrifices ULM are making to contain the virus. Clinton said he thinks that the university’s main focus should be to “preserve life in the midst of a worsening pandemic.”

“As already seen, people can’t be trusted to make the safest decision without some sort of administrative or governmental involvement,” Clinton said. “Face-to-face learning should be started up again once the risks of the virus have been greatly mitigated.”

The University of Louisiana System has requested that universities make plans for the spring 2021 semester. According to Ruiz, the ULM administration is still in preliminary talks. Any changes to the upcoming semester will be shared through the Student Government Association.