“Morale is at an all-time low,” warns a petition to the University of Iowa.
Universities are caught between the demands of their faculty for more security measures, the fear of losing students, and the revenue they will bring when schools take another year of online education.
“I think everyone would agree that the idea is to have people physically back in the classroom,” said Peter McDonough, general advisor to the American Council on Education, an organization of colleges and universities. “Turning on a dime to provide online education last year and the previous spring semester was only seen as temporary.”
For some faculties, the new year does not bring a return to normal, but a strong sense that things could go wrong. In the early weeks of class, cases have surged in schools including Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Arizona State, Liberty University, the University of Arkansas, the University of North Florida, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“It seems like a repeat,” said Michael Atzmon, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan. “On the one hand, we have the vaccine. On the other side, we have Delta.”
dr. Atzmon helped organize a petition asking the university to be more open to online education. It was signed by more than 700 teachers and instructors.
Commenting on the petition, Michigan President Mark Schlissel said on Thursday that given the “stellar” vaccination rate on the Ann Arbor campus (92 percent for students, 90 percent for teachers), the classroom is “perhaps the safest” used to be. place to be” on campus.