CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Students at Coastal Carolina University were allowed to resume in-person learning this week, but an increasing number of students are opting to continue the semester remotely.
CCU began the Fall 2020 semester online and Tuesday welcomed students back in classrooms with face masks and physical distancing guidelines.
Associate Provost, Holly Tankersley, tells News13, she and university administration were pleasantly surprised with what they saw in classrooms this week.
“We’ve known from day one that the challenge wouldn’t necessarily be what happens on our campus,” Tankersley said. “We’ve put in a lot of measures to make sure we’re protecting everyone here, but what our students are doing in their daily lives, whether it’s working somewhere in a restaurant or elsewhere in the hospitality industry, or they are socializing with their friends as college students do; those are certainly our areas of concern.”
Tankersley says the number of students who chose to continue the semester virtually is increasing.
“Initially about a third of our students indicated they wanted an online-only option, but that has creeped up to almost 50 percent over time,” she explained. “I think perhaps a lot of students really enjoyed the first two weeks of streaming classes online, they realized it’s a much better system than in the spring when we were shifting into emergency mode and they in fact can learn more in this environment than they anticipated.”
Coastal junior and golfer, Brady Hinkle, says he opted to go to class virtually this semester.
“I’m kind of getting into my senior and junior level classes and I figured if I could avoid the contact on-campus that would be best especially for me and our season.”
Other students say, they are glad to be back in the classroom, but are thankful for the flexibility of online learning.
“Personally I learn better in-person so I just make sure I wear my mask and stay the furthest away from people that I can, but I think it helps that people get the option because I know my preference for one of my classes was in-person, but I switched it to online and I think that’s helped ease my mind,” sophomore marine science major, Sarah Thornton said.
As of today, there have been 183 cases of Coronavirus reported since June 8 at CCU. This week accounted for 61 of those (57 are students and 4 are staff members).
Right now, the University is encouraging any student who thinks they have Coronavirus or have been exposed, to report it to the University. Tankersley says this effort could result in an increase in the number of cases.
“Of course, our on-campus students and the students we’re testing here at Coastal, we know those numbers, but we are encouraging students, particularly our off-campus students, if they have been exposed or if they have tested positive outside of student health services to let us know so we can keep tabs of what’s going on.”