UWF students remain optimistic after starting online learning due to coronavirus

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Colleges across the country are dealing with the transition to online learning after making the decision to meet virtually due to coronavirus concerns.

The University of West Florida is one of those schools.

During a media availability Monday, UWF President Martha Saunders said the transition has run smoothly, after instructors went through an online boot camp to get ready to the new teaching method. Professors record online lectures for students to watch, and UWF has added additional discussion boxes in its online program to make learning and asking questions a little easier.

However, UWF student Virginia Morrison said learning online may come with challenges.

“I’m an auditory learner so having classes online is going to be a little bit of a struggle because I’m used to having at in-person assistance,” Morrison said.

Saunders said students will be giving every resource they need to learn.

Morrison is one of about 240 students who have requested to stay on campus, rather than go home as mandated by UWF. Morrison said she’s from the Jacksonville area where coronavirus has affected more people, so she decided to stay.

In the meantime, UWF has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols “where the students are,” Saunders said.

UWF has also kept cafeterias open for to-go orders and given laptops to students without them to use while they stay at home.

Saunders offered this advice to students remaining on campus.

“Stay 6 feet away from people. Don’t shake hands. Don’t hug,” Saunders said. “Use a Kleenex if you have to sneeze or cough. Throw that Kleenex away. Wash your hands.”

UWF student Dan Clark said he was remaining optimistic.

“It really hasn’t shifted anything too much,” Clark said. “The hallways are just more empty.”

UWF students will continue to learn online until at least March 30.

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