UMKC deliberates plans for 2020 fall semester

As the spring semester comes to an end, UMKC is gearing up to make a decision regarding the 2020 fall semester.

Some students are ready to resume courses on campus for the fall, while others think it may be unrealistic given the uncertainty of when stay-at-home orders will end and what other safety precautions will look like in efforts to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.

“I am expecting fall classes to be online, but I hope that will not be the case,” said freshman Lilly Concannon, a business major. 

UMKC is also hopeful students will be back on campus for the 2020 fall semester.

“Right now, it is our expectation that we will have face-to-face courses and the full UMKC campus experience in the fall,” Interim Provost Jenny Lundgren said.

When classes do resume on campus, courses may not be conducted the way students are used to.

“The Chancellor has said that the post-COVID-19 environment for higher education will be very different,” Lundgren said.

Fast-tracking online instruction this semester has sparked an interest among UMKC faculty on how to innovate the way classes are held in the future, Lundgren added.

“Even with a fully open campus, we are likely to see more “blended” classes that combine aspects of online and in-person teaching,” Lundgren said. 

Chancellor Mauli Agrawal said this may be the new UMKC, and “maybe that’s not a bad thing.”

UMKC has taken its role in the community into consideration when determining how to conduct the 2020 fall semester. 

“We don’t know yet what restrictions or opportunities will be in place for the fall semester, but we are determined to be prepared for any eventuality and ready to provide a high-quality education in whatever format the situation requires,” Lundgren said.

Students who attended class on campus before UMKC moved all course work online feel it has lowered the quality of their education. 

“Since it’s all online, everything is open note, and I feel as if I’m not learning much,” said junior psychology major Maddie Houx.

Undergraduates who have course work requiring hands-on learning are having a hard time adjusting to online classes as well.  

“This has impacted my quality of education because my labs are not the same,” said junior Dominique Nichols, a pre-nursing major. “Watching videos about a lab is not the same as learning hands-on, and I feel like I am missing out.”

Fall enrollment has opened, and some students are already facing issues with classes they thought would be face-to-face.

“I enrolled in fall classes yesterday, and I have already received an email that one of my professors has decided to switch our in-person class to an online course,” Concannon said.

Residential life may also look different for students planning to live on-campus for the 2020-2021 academic year.

“We intend to be flexible enough to provide the safest learning and living environment possible while offering a vibrant and active campus experience,” Lundgren said.

Lundgren said it is still too soon to officially finalize plans for the fall semester, and UMKC will work to balance keeping students safe while still providing high-quality education.

“The health and safety of our university community is always our first priority,” Lundgren said.

laceyclark@mail.umkc.edu

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