An atypical semester begins

Not a traditional start to fall semester

By Matt Marx 

The campus experience has an atypical look and feel as autumn semester began August 25 at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Faculty and staff have been preparing for the return of students and the resumption of classes, both virtual and physical, with new procedures in place to safeguard against COVID-19.

“Things look different, but we’re still here for them,” said Krista Scott, CFAES director of undergraduate recruitment and student engagement.

Enrollment figures will not be available until after the 15th day of the semester, but the majority of courses are being taught online.

As of last week, nearly two-thirds of CFAES’ sections offered on the Columbus campus during fall semester are in courses that are fully or partially distance learning. About one-third of college sections involve in-person instruction, including a few designated as hybrids, according to estimates from the college’s Office of Academic Affairs.

These estimates include undergraduate and graduate sections as well as those for one-to-one courses such as internships, independent study, and research. Many distance and in-person course offerings have multiple sections, such as lectures or labs, in which students enroll.

The number of sections available in a distance format is likely to change over the next first few weeks as students revise their schedules and faculty amend course offerings to support student learning.

The in-person sections are limited to 50 students.

Like the rest of the university, CFAES’ Columbus classrooms, as well as those at the college’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, have been reconfigured for physical distancing. Face masks are required on campus, and students, faculty, and staff are being provided with return-to-campus PPE kits to support healthy behaviors. University-wide, faculty have received training on how to handle students who are not following protocols.

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