Now that LSU has begun planning for the return to in-person learning, some teachers are getting more eager to see their students face-to-face again. After an entire year of online learning, it’s evident that students are ready to get back to the normal swing of things on campus, and now so are teachers.
An LSU Manship professor, Bob Mann, confirmed that faculty hasn’t yet received any specific information from administration about returning to in-person learning, but he is ready to follow their lead in the transition.
“I want to work within the university’s rules, but with the extent that I have latitudes...I want to be back full-time [with] no masks and no social distancing, but I don’t know if that’s going to be possible.”
Mann considers himself to be a slight germaphobe and hopes to see some of the COVID protocols remain in effect for the fall. He believes that if some of these protocols remain in place for the fall it will ensure safety from the flu and other spreadable viruses.
After not being able to hold any in-person classes this semester, Mann explains how crucial it is for both students and faculty to be face-to-face again. “I don’t know anyone that prefers teaching through Zoom because everybody just wants to be in a classroom with students and have that human connection...it’s not only been a physical toll, it’s been an emotional one on students who are isolated.”
Another LSU Manship professor, Jeff Gauger, also hopes LSU will continue to take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of the community. “I’m willing to wear a mask...I don’t like wearing a mask in class, but it’s a small sacrifice to make.”
After teaching both in-person and virtual classes this year, Gauger reflects on the toll the year has taken on teacher-student interactions. “I’m prepared and eager to go back to in-person learning, I know because I’ve heard from them, students have struggled with online learning and so have professors.”
Online learning has been said to be less effective in creating a welcoming class environment. “It’s just harder to engage with students...and much more difficult to grasp whether students are mentally engaged, and thus it's’ harder to take any steps to help them become more engaged if you can’t tell,” Gauger said.
LSU officials have not yet released a roadmap to fall 2021 with instructions for the transition back to in-person learning, but as of now the schedule booklet reflects that the majority of classes will be in-person.