A new semester of classes brings all sorts of challenges – organizing a new schedule, making new friends, getting your textbooks, the list goes on. But getting to class safely should not be one of them. 

This past week, Fairfield students bundled up and braced the freezing temperatures in order to make it to their classes. Although some early morning and late night classes were canceled, the majority were not. We should consider just how safe it was to be walking to class in these conditions. Not only were there freezing temperatures, but the addition of wind and ice made it unsafe for students to walk to class – definitely not the best mix of conditions that one wants to be walking in. I, along with others, struggled to keep myself upright on the slick walkways. This dilemma begs the question if students’ safety should be compromised in order to stay up to date with classes. I personally think that canceling classes is the safest option when it comes to these situations. However, the question of whether or not to move classes online is then brought up. 

I feel as though this decision is dependent upon a few things: 

1. The significance of that class’s subject material. As a nursing major, a lot of my classes contain material that must be learned at a certain pace or else we fall behind, so moving those classes online for the day would be beneficial. 

2. The leniency of the professor. Some professors may feel as though their students deserve to relax, and that whatever material that would have been covered in the canceled class can be incorporated into a future one. 

3. How meaningful moving a class online would actually be. I’m sure many people have had the feeling that some Zoom meetings could have been simplified into an email. I would also guess that many students also feel that way about classes that have had to meet over Zoom, whether that be due to a professor’s illness or weather related. Personally, I feel as though they are not very productive as whatever work done during that time could have been completed on my own time and at my own pace, without the extravagance of a Zoom meeting (setting up your meeting space, making sure the lighting is appropriate, overcoming the anxiety of having your camera on, etc.) 

Overall, if the course’s material must be learned at a pace that it is pertinent to not miss one class, then an online class would be beneficial. Sometimes it’s necessary. However, if the course allows some leniency in its schedule, then I do not see a problem with totally canceling that class. That may seem a bit extreme, and I can understand that. I, too, am someone who needs structure and an organized schedule. I like having assigned due dates so I know how to ration my time throughout the week, as well as being able to plan other activities around my classes throughout the day. By doing this, I set myself up to be successful in school. 

Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things, it will not be the end of the world if one class is canceled. However, it does become a problem when those days pile up and outnumber the days actually, physically in class. At that point, professors should send emails out with what they believe students should be able to accomplish that day for their missed class, and the expectations outlined for the next time they were to meet in person.

Classes should be canceled due to freezing temperatures with students’ safety in mind, but whether classes should then be moved online by professors depends upon the different factors and variables specific to one’s courses.

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