Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misreported that the University of Colorado Boulder will not reimburse students living on campus for room and board.
The University of Colorado Boulder made the decision on Wednesday, March 11 to transition classes to remote learning for the rest of the semester. Students will no longer spend time on campus and have been urged to stay home.
According to Mark Kennedy, president of the CU system, CU Boulder is the only campus moving to remote learning for the rest of the semester. Though it is likely the Denver campus will also transition to remote classes for the rest of the semester, Boulder is the only campus with an indefinite decision.
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano sent students an email explaining what remote classes will look like. Students will now attend lectures on Zoom, an online video and audio conferencing app. The university’s reasoning for moving classes online was to limit exposure to the virus and to avoid large crowds.
The Center for Disease Control recommends avoiding nonessential travel to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Additionally, the CDC does not recommend traveling from locations where there are cases, such as Colorado. For out of state students, traveling home may become less of an option as the pandemic develops. With cases increasing rapidly, students leaving Colorado will be placing others and themselves at greater risk for contracting the virus.
For international students, traveling home may not even be an option. President Donald Trump restricted travel to and from 26 EU nations for 30 days. The pandemic’s progression could separate international students from their families for an unforeseeable amount of time.
Zoom, which is replacing in-person lectures, is a video conference service used for businesses. As more campuses begin to use the program more issues are arising. As of Wednesday there was a peak in problems at 10:00 a.m., when most classes were meeting. Fifty-one percent of these issues were around the log-in alone.
For students with majors that require more hands on approaches such as dance, film and research, they may miss out on essential learning because of Zoom integration.
Rae Lewark is minoring in dance at CU Boulder and is facing the new challenge of doing a dance technique class online. “At first I was like, ‘there’s no way this is gonna happen, it’s impossible,’” Lewark said.
Lewark’s main concern is about accountability and staying safe as a dancer. She expressed worry about injuring herself without advice she would normally get in the moment from professors.
Though Lewark found the announcement of remote classes to be abrupt and disappointing, she appreciates the university’s precautionary steps. “No university wants to do this,” she said. However, Lewark wishes there was more buffer time to prepare for the switch to online.
Lewark does believe there is hope for the university and students with more creative majors.
“While this situation is going to pose so many challenges, especially to visual and performing arts majors, I think it will demonstrate our community’s resilience in the face of being isolated,” Lewark said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Zoe Schacht at firstname.lastname@example.org.