Marshall holds successful first week of classes, but with some changes


HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — From elementary schools to universities, classrooms are opening back up across the area, and all are facing big changes due to the pandemic.

Marshall University in Huntington is no exception. The campus has come alive with students once again—except now, they’re all masked up and a little more spaced out.

“I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, we’ve had some compliance issues, but compared to other schools, to be honest with you, I’m really proud of our students.” 

Matt James, Assistant Dean of Students, Marshall University

Marshall University has opened it’s doors for fall classes, but like everything this year—things are running a little differently now.

“This year, I’m fully online and virtual instead of in-person classes, which is a really big adjustment for me because I’ve never enjoyed online classes before.” 

Karleigh Meadows, third year student, Marshall University

Marshall is offering it’s students a hybrid model of learning—some virtual classes, some in-person—and they’re taking extra precautions for the in-person sessions.

Administrators that 13 News spoke with at the university say their main concern is making sure students felt safe.

So, they implemented plexi-glass shields to put in front of teachers, and keeping students six-feet apart by marking certain rows and chairs in the lecture halls as off-limits.

For students who are uncomfortable coming in-person, there’s a contingency plan for that, too.

“We also have virtual classes that are only online.” 

Matt James, Assistant Dean of Students, Marshall University

The students have options, as did the faculty in deciding whether to take their class fully online or to follow the hybrid model.

Assistant Dean of Students Matt James says the compliance with on-campus regulations has been encouraging.

“Student compliance is exactly what you’ve seen across the country. It’s the same thing you’re gonna see if you go to Huntington Mall. It’s the same thing you’re gonna see in any public place. 

Matt James, Assistant Dean of Students, Marshall University

Students say they’re actually pleasantly surprised by how seriously everyone is taking the changes.  

“I’ve been really proud of us here on campus. I remember watching a lot of things on the news about campuses opening up and people weren’t wearing masks or respecting social distancing, but so far I’ve seen most people wearing masks and adhering to those rules.” 

Brooke Howerton, senior, Marshall University

Administrators remain hopeful it will continue this way.

“If something happens where we’re gonna head backwards I would be very surprised because I think we’re all in this together and we’re gonna be committed to that moving forward.” 

Matt James, Assistant Dean of Students, Marshall University

Among other things, the faculty of the university told 13 News they are continuously working with students on scheduling issues and concerns, but so far the transition has been smooth.

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