Column: Time to be transparent

The university should be crystal clear about what their possible plans are if COVID-19 cases get too high

Classes have been back in session for over a month now, and so far to fully in-person learning has been seemingly successful. But what happens if, or when, COVID-19 cases become a problem again?

When you look at the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, you can see the number of cases active on campus, how many are new and how many we’ve had since the pandemic began. There’s also various information about certain COVID-19 protocols, like mask-wearing and testing.

What there isn’t, however, is a plan for what happens if the pandemic gets out of hand again.

As a student, it is a bit concerning that Ferris has not been completely transparent about their plan, considering what happens with an increased number of cases. It’s something that we, as students, should know because it affects our education. An education we’re giving the school money to provide.

It is not unreasonable for us to want to know how our classes are going to progress if we enter into a time of stricter regulations. I’ve had professors take the time to explain what the university wants to do to classes if cases get too high again, but even they did not want to say too much.

As far as we students know, the plan is to split physical classes into two groups, one group in the classroom with the teacher, and the other in a separate room watching the rest of the class. A plan that was not very popular with my classmates and I.

The issue here is not the potentially inefficient plan of action: it is that the administration didn’t bring it upon themselves to actually notify students of the plan, which affects them more than anyone else.

Why are students left in the dark about what could happen to classes in the future when the university should be clear so we can prepare for all the possibilities?

We should be notified of what the benchmark number of cases is that would entail a change in the teaching process, so we can do our best to not reach that number. We should also be told of the actual plan that Ferris has when it comes to COVID-19, that way, if it comes down to it, students are not blindsided by a sudden change in learning.

I understand wanting to be cautious about what students do and do not know about administrative plans, but when those plans could directly affect the lives of the students on campus, decisions should be shared with students. 

We have already received updates from the Dean of Student Life that tell us that we need to wear masks, do the symptom checker, report positive results and promote vaccine confidence. So maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t kill them to let us know what is happening with the possible future of our education.