|▲ This is a photo taken of a face-to-face lecture at Changwon National University. (Source: Veritas Alpha)
The new semester began in March 2022. Beginning this semester, Changwon National University has decided to provide face-to-face classes in principle, but some classes can also have the option of providing mixed classes or non-face-to-face classes. However, as the number of COVID-19 confirmed patients increases during the semester, not only students' anxieties are amplified, but also students who take face-to-face classes are beginning to be directly affected. This is causing complaints from their classmates.
According to a report on the COVID-19 outbreak on Changwon National University's website, the number of confirmed cases in the school from the 7th to the 13th was 425, with the rate of confirmed cases per week being 4.26%. The government said, "It is expected to be the peak of COVID-19 infection until the end of March," according to this prediction, the percentage of confirmed cases at this school is also expected to increase. According to the academic management regulations, students who have been confirmed with COVID-19 can be admitted for attendance by submitting self-diagnosis evidence. However, students who cannot participate in face-to-face lectures due to confirmation cannot receive the lecture materials. And this creates a problem when students have to participate in assignments or tests in that state. According to the school's website notice, teachers in charge should cooperate using various learning mediums such as providing video clips, accessing online lectures, and granting individual assignments during face-to-face classes to preserve absentee learning rights as much as possible. However, looking at the actual situation, most of the confirmed students are not provided with these conveniences. Accordingly, there are opinions in the on-campus community "Every Time" that there are concerns about infection in the process of implementing face-to-face classes and the lack of school consideration for confirmed students. We heard the story of our classmate Kim Chae-ha, in regards to face-to-face classes.
Q: Please introduce yourself.
Kim: I'm Kim Chae-ha, Majoring in Smart Manufacturing Convergence.
Q: In the current situation, do you think the class should be conducted face-to-face or non-face-to-face? Please tell me your opinion and your reasons to support it as well.
Kim: I think it is desirable to conduct the class in a non-face-to-face manner. I heard that the current status of COVID-19 infections are on the rise, with the number of confirmed cases on campus increasing. In particular, I have often witnessed students who participated in face-to-face classes at school and who were then diagnosed with COVID-19. Looking at this situation, I think we should conduct non-face-to-face classes in consideration of the anxieties and health iimplications of our students.
Q: Have you had any inconveniences participating in face-to-face classes? If you have, what made you feel uncomfortable?
Kim: When a classmate who takes the same class during a face-to-face lecture is confirmed, the students who participated in the class are personally asked to conduct a quick antigen test and to then go to school if they have tested negative. As these things happen repeatedly, there is a growing concern that no matter how much we wear a mask, we will be infected during face-to-face classes. Additionally when I saw that the confirmed classmate was not receiving any information about the face-to-face class that he or she could not participate in, I was even more worried that I would be confirmed with COVID-19 and then become disadvantaged in the class. It is also worrisome that some students may go to school to avoid disadvantages in class even if they are confirmed due to these difficult circumstances.
Q: What is your opinion about the school's announcements and efforts related to face-to-face instruction?
Kim: I'm satisfied in terms of attendance recognition, but I think we should thoroughly guarantee students' right to learn as we conduct face-to-face classes I think various matters related to guaranteeing the right to learn should be mandated without leaving related matters at the discretion of teachers to upload lecture materials, and to participate in real-time lectures for confirmed students.
As the number of cases in which confirmed students' right to learn is not guaranteed increases, enrolled students are expressing concern not only about infection but also about disadvantages in the learning process. With many confirmed cases coming out of the school, the university, which conducted face-to-face classes in principle, should guarantee the right to participate in classes for confirmed students. In addition, rapid antigen and PCR testing have become difficult to access, therefore, it seems necessary to pay attention and adhere to both school and personal quarantine measures.
Seo Ji-min, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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