East Carolina University recently announced that it would change to an eight-week block schedule for the 2020-2021 school year in response to COVID-19. The new schedule will split student’s schedules in half. Half of the classes will be in the first eight weeks while the second half will be in the second eight-week block.
We, the editorial staff of The East Carolinian, believe that this decision was made too early in the quickly changing scenario that is COVID-19. In addition to this, short session classes put additional stress on students, faculty and staff.
A regular session class typically lasts 16-weeks or the length of a semester. Professors are not used to having to condense 16-weeks worth of class content into an eight-week period. This change shortens the number of time students have to completely learn the material and prepare for exams, papers and quizzes that they normally have weeks to do.
If the beginning of fall semester is postponed or if students are required to back off-campus midway through the semester, the block schulde will help to avoid restarting the semester.
However, students, parents, faculty and staff have begun to voice health concerns about being back in classrooms and dorms in such close proximity with so many people. The current environment is rapidly changing but it’s difficult to tell at this point if the situation will continue to improve or decline again.
It would have been more beneficial for ECU to provide a more flexible plan that can remain fluid moving through the summer rather than the seemingly concrete plan. While we are certainly eager for the ECU community to move back towards normal and back on campus, we would much rather have everyone online and safe than risking their health on campus.