Some UPEI instructors opt not to return to campus with more classes held in-person this fall

·2 min read
UPEI instructor Brittany Jakubiec has decided to opt out of face-to-face teaching this fall semester. (Brittany Jakubiec - image credit)
UPEI instructor Brittany Jakubiec has decided to opt out of face-to-face teaching this fall semester. (Brittany Jakubiec - image credit)

The University of Prince Edward Island will hold more in-person classes this fall, but online learning will still be a big part of the semester, with some instructors deciding they're not quite ready to get back to teaching face-to-face.

UPEI says about 25 per cent of its courses this fall will be either fully online or a hybrid mixture of online and in-person learning. Individual instructors are able to decide whether they'll be returning to face-to-face teaching before classes start next week.

Brittany Jakubiec is one of those instructors opting to keep their course online. They said they personally feel returning to campus is still not safe enough.

"The primary factor that influenced my decision was that we're still in the midst of a pandemic," Jakubiec said. "It's like not really slowed down. There's still a lot of cases, there's still a lot of deaths. For me, it still feels very present. I don't feel like we're post-pandemic or that we're nearing the end."

Vaccine mandate

The university recently announced that all students, faculty and staff should be vaccinated by Oct. 18, with only a few exemptions. Anyone who isn't vaccinated must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

It's also mandated mask indoors if people can't physically distance.

Jakubiec said they commend the measures. But that they are able to teach their course just as effectively online while keeping students more safe.

Some students, however, are unhappy with the amount of classes that will be taught online.

"I'm not really used to this online thing. I'd assume that'd be the same for everyone," psychology student Arnaud Bwasisi said. "In-person is much better because it gives you the motivation to go to class and do the work that you need to be doing. So yeah, I prefer everything being in-person."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Bwasisi said online classes made time management "a lot tougher" last semester.

"I do find it difficult to find my other coursemates because everything is online so I don't get to meet people like that," said first-year kinesiology student Emmanuel Ero, who only saw online classes in his first semester at UPEI. Ero said he prefers a mix between in-person and online classes.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Jakubiec said they understand people's decision to return to face-to-face classes.

"That's fantastic if someone feels that's the choice for them or that's the path for them, I do understand that choice as well," they said.

"I think we all want to be kind of post-pandemic. I think we all want to return to what was normal life. But I think right now that's not the case."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting