In what may have felt like a premature move, Dallas College’s decision to move to remote learning for the Fall 2020 semester as well as Spring 2021 was the right decision.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of deaths due to COVID-19 has been on the rise since October. While we are almost sure that the leadership of Dallas College does not own a crystal ball, they are certainly paying attention to the data available and making decisions in the best interest of the faculty, staff and students.
The announcement to continue classes online through Spring 2021 may have been received with mixed feelings. It means that campus locations remain closed, remote learning continues and we are not connecting with others.
To be sure, remote learning, teaching and working are taking their toll on all of us – in physical, emotional and mental ways. However, we are thankful for the leadership and decision making from Dallas College.
When students returned to college campuses across Texas in the Fall, they became hot spots, spreading the virus to the local communities, according to The Texas Tribune. By removing the option to attend classes in person, Dallas College ensured that its faculty, staff and students would not contribute to the ongoing pandemic.
According to the Dallas College COVID-19 reporting dashboard, as of Dec. 23 there have been 161 actionable cases cumulative across all seven campuses since Sept. 9. This number pales in comparison to the 1,400 cases reported on the Texas Tech campus as reported by The Texas Tribune.
Additionally, online classes afforded non-traditional students the opportunity to take classes normally are not offered virtually. Work, life and class schedules do not always align. This year and the decision to move learning online afforded students a more flexible schedule and the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Courses which were not offered on an online platform pre-pandemic were now transitioned to a virtual course. This allowed non-traditional students to participate in a larger variety of classes and pursue interests that were previously off-limits due to schedule restraints.
The timely decision allowed for student organizations to evolve and grow under the unprecedented conditions. We have benefited from a growing newsroom with contributing writers and editors who have only been able to contribute to The Brookhaven Courier due to the adaptation to an online newsroom.
For others, the early decisions provided ample time to plan ahead. While shifting schedules around is never easy, it is more difficult to make last minute plans for childcare or work schedules. We are grateful to have had the time to make necessary arrangements.
The pandemic has taught us to be more flexible because we have no option but to adapt. If we are not moving forward, then we are stuck. We appreciate the decision to stay online because it has given us the opportunity to adapt at our own pace and in the safest way possible.
We are thankful that because of the decision to stay remote, we can eliminate the worry of contracting COVID-19 while on campus or missing classes or work because we contracted COVID-19 while on campus.
Dallas College has proven responsible and prioritized the health and well-being of faculty and students.
We have been allowed the opportunity to pursue our education, gain newsroom experience and prioritize our well-being simultaneously due to the responsible and timely actions taken by the Dallas College administration.
We have been away from our newsroom since March. While we would love to get back on campus to carry out our duties and collaborate in person, we strongly believe Dallas College made the right decision in keeping most of their classes online for the Fall and upcoming Spring semester.