#FocusDisruption: Montclair State Returns to Remote Instruction For a Day Due to Storm

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Published November 3, 2021
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The Montclarion
A student's static computer screen. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

#FocusDisruption is a collaboration of all the media outlets within Montclair State’s School of Communication and Media. Our goal is to report stories that highlight the effects or disruption of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We will be focusing on five main points that are experiencing the changes of a post-pandemic world: education, misinformation, the workplace, climate change and mental health.

After two months of in-person courses, Montclair State University returned to online learning due to the severe weather conditions on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

Regardless of the university’s decision to work online, many instructors had a different perspective and decided to cancel classes instead.

Stacy Gitlin, a professor at the School of Communication and Media, says students’ safety should be a priority.

“When the governor says it’s a state of emergency and there is going to be lots of flooding, I’m not really inclined to put my students in danger,” Gitlin said.

Stacy Gitlin, a professor at the School of Communication and Media, explained why she decided to cancel her Tuesday classes. Jennifer Portorreal | The Montclarion

Stacy Gitlin, a professor at the School of Communication and Media, explained why she decided to cancel her Tuesday classes.
Jennifer Portorreal | The Montclarion

Gitlin decided to cancel her news videography class rather than teach over Zoom.

“Our class is really hard to do on Zoom, to do the editing,” Gitlin said.

According to Lisa Sargese, an adjunct world religions professor, operating remotely should be a choice for students, especially during cases of storms.

“Not everybody who signed up for an in-person class is going to be able to have access to a computer or privacy to take the course at home,” Sargese said. “[Not attending class] should be an option. [Like], ‘Hey, here’s the lecture. You are welcome to join.’ But if [a student] can’t, I think the professor should be lenient and not mark them absent.”

Lisa Sargese, a world religions adjunct professor, says the university should not operate remotely during storms. Jennifer Portorreal | The Montclarion

Lisa Sargese, a world religions adjunct professor, says the university should not operate remotely during storms.
Jennifer Portorreal | The Montclarion

Rich Wolfson, a professor and president of the union, said each instructor operates differently and has their own teaching method.

“I did not have class on Tuesday,” Wolfson said. “I did meet with the class on Wednesday. I think there should be an alternative assignment as [face-to-face] classes are hard to [pivot]. But each class is different and it should be up to the instructor.”

For some students, going back to the learning style used in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic felt rare, even if it was only for one day.

Ryan Mistretta, a junior sports communication major, shared his experience with his online class that day.

“We did have an online session for 15 minutes to talk about what we were going to do for the next class, but that was it,” Mistretta said. “I liked it. Not complaining, [a] short class. I got the whole day off, so I was happy about it. But, it was weird having a Zoom class since the pandemic.”

Ryan Mistretta, a junior sports communication major, explained how the virtual day was beneficial for him. Jennifer Portorreal | The Montclarion

Ryan Mistretta, a junior sports communication major, explained how the virtual day was beneficial for him.
Jennifer Portorreal | The Montclarion

Nathalie Cuello, a junior psychology major, believes the administration should reconsider the idea of opting for online classes instead of just canceling them completely.

“I believe the university should cancel class instead of operating remotely because before the pandemic, that’s how it was,” Cuello said. “And just because we have the option to be in class through Zoom now does not mean the school shouldn’t consider canceling classes [altogether].”

Nathalie Cuello, a junior psychology major, says the university should consider cancelling classes rather than operating remotely. Jennifer Portorreal | The Montclarion

Nathalie Cuello, a junior psychology major, says the university should consider canceling classes rather than operating remotely.
Jennifer Portorreal | The Montclarion

Montclair State’s classes and activities resumed to normal operation the following day.

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