Spring semester allows for increased in-person capacity

Gabriela Krieger

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, normalcy has become something dearly missed and long sought-after. Opening colleges in full population capacity is one step towards a sense of normality. 

Oakton’s registration opened Nov.18 for the entire student body. Upon attempting to register for classes, students will notice that the amount of available online classes have decreased. In addition, as the spread of COVID appears to be stabilizing and more students get vaccinated, in-person class capacity has increased from 10-12 to 20-24 students. 

This news has been received with equal parts excitement and disappointment. While many students are overjoyed to be returning to learn in-person, there is a plethora of concerns that stem from the notion of a fully populated campus. 

Some students also seem to prefer attending class through the screen. Virtual learning offers a level of flexibility and customization that cannot be compared to an in-person education- it has proven to be particularly convenient for parents, full-time workers, or students who are needed at home.

“I enjoy virtual learning because it gives me the opportunity to have a more flexible work schedule. It also means I can do work from the comfort of my own home,” said Oakton student Renee Mark.

One such worry is that Oakton doesn’t have much protocol concerning the pandemic. For instance, Oakton does not require vaccinations in order to attend, and teachers are not given a list of student vaccination status.

While unvaccinated students are expected to get weekly COVID tests in order to come to class, this requirement seems rather paltry when compared to the pandemic-preventing protocols of other colleges and universities. 

For this reason, many instructors and professors are hesitant to return to campus. Some teachers have health complications which may make being in close proximity with unvaccinated students dangerous or potentially fatal. Furthermore, professors and instructors with young children may find it difficult to be forced to find daycare while they teach on campus. 

However, a large population of students are eager to see their campus bustling with students and activity once again. More densely populated classes will allow for more socialization and will make it easier for students to meet more of Oakton’s student body. 

Certain classes benefit greatly from the ability to be held in-person, such as music classes, mechanics classes, and fashion classes. Classes that incorporate experiments or demonstrations, such as laboratory or medical classes, are particularly dependent on hands-on involvement. Increasing the availability of in-person classes will allow for an increased number of students to get the most out of their education. 

While the outcome of the decision to increase class capacity and the availability of in-person classes is yet to be seen, one thing is certain: it is one wobbly step towards something that resembles normalcy.