This past year has been difficult for all faculty and students. Going from in-person classes to virtual classes through Zoom forced everyone to adapt to the new norm very quickly. 

On February 25, 2021 Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy was named the sixth president of Missouri Western State University after serving more than six months as interim president. Recently, President Kennedy sent out an email informing students and faculty about the status of in-person and virtual classes in the fall of 2021. 

“Academically, 85 percent of our classes in the fall will have in-person classroom learning: 70 percent of classes will be fully face-to-face, about 15 percent will be hybrid (primarily face-to-face with an online component) and only about 15 percent will be fully online” said Kennedy.

This is exciting news for many students who enjoy in-person classes and also for students who are part of clubs and activities such as greek life and sports. 

Graduate student Alex Shaffer shares her thoughts on President Kennedy’s recent email.

“I find that taking virtual classes is a little bit more challenging especially during these times,” Shaffer said. “It makes communicating with my professors a little bit harder than face to face interaction. I'm really excited and ready for COVID to be put behind us and just to finish out my degree.” 

Some professors have offered in-person classes this past fall for students who prefer taking classes in-person rather than online. 

Dr. Elise Hepworth who is professor and director of choral activities had held in-person classes this past fall. 

“Last spring I moved to online instruction. For choir, it’s nearly impossible to have a choral experience virtually. I prefer teaching in person because the human connection is a vital part of an educational experience.” Hepworth said. “Building a community where you cannot authentically interact with others, read body language and facial expression, and react to the unfiltered sounds of the human voice is a difficult thing to recreate.”

With safety measures still in place, professors have been able to have classes this past fall and more will be joining the schedule in the fall of 2021. 

Junior criminal justice major, Mackenzie Porter is a transfer student here at Missouri Western State University who also shared her thoughts on President Kennedy’s email.  

“Since we started doing classes through Zoom it's definitely harder to keep up with assignments and checking my emails constantly.” Porter said. “However it's nice to do school work from home all day. But in all honesty, in-person classes make me more successful.”

Students who have taken virtual classes for almost a year may have a hard time going back to in-person classes because they have been so used to everything being online. 

“Obviously as a student athlete I am very excited for COVID restrictions to be lifted so that we can have more fans and more fun.” Shaffer said. “I'm also looking forward to attending other sporting events to cheer on the teams without any restrictions and limitations.”

With in-person classes increasing and students continuing to follow all safety protocols and regulations it will make this fall a fun one for students and faculty.

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