Rowan University Students, Professors Look Forward to Limited In-Person Return

By: Joel Vazquez, Writer / Follow South Jersey Higher Education Intern

GLASSBORO, N.J. — Students and professors logged onto their computers for the first day of the 2021 spring semester on January 25. For most students, this is their third semester learning behind a screen, but some students are getting the option to attend their classes in person as early as February 1.

Courses that are Physical Presence Required (PPR) or Physical Presence Optional (PPO) will gradually begin taking place on campus on February 1. Students can check the status of their classes by logging onto their Canvas portal.

The pandemic left students like freshman Autumn McCann, a radio, television, and film major, forced to attend class from the comfort of their bedrooms. But the gradual reopening of classrooms has McCann ready for a change of scenery.

“It’s been forever since I’ve been in a classroom setting, so I’m excited to see how everyone will react,” McCann said.

Zachary Brown, a senior accounting major, also spent the first day of his last semester online, but since two of his classes are hybrid, he has the option to take them in the classroom.

“I’d rather be in class for the learning experience,” Brown said. “As a learner, it’s just better for me.”

However, students aren’t the only members of the Rowan University community getting excited to get back into the classroom. Dr. Alicia Drelick, program coordinator for inclusive education, realizes how important it is for her students to get the in-person experience.

“We’re missing out on that ability to collaborate face-to-face,” Dr. Drelick said. “When you’re preparing future teachers, it’s great they’re learning these new skills, but it’s also important that they know how to teach young children face to face.”

With more students back on campus, the university has been enforcing strict COVID-19 guidelines such as requiring face masks indoors, social distancing in the classrooms, and installing hand sanitizing stations at the entrances of buildings.

In addition, professors must follow classroom capacity restrictions. For Casey Holcombe, the television production coordinator and an adjunct professor, he is splitting his Television Production 2 class into groups in order to keep capacity limited.

“There are only eight students, but we break them up into two smaller groups to keep them as safe as possible, ” Holcombe said.

This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.