After nearly 18 months of online learning methods, the UK universities are now finally looking forward to seeing thousands of students studying physics in classrooms. While the decision had been taken numerous times and had resulted in unfortunate results, students are more confident of seeing this scenario as long-term success.
Many UK universities have come together to announce the renewal of further education in the country. Top names like Durham University, the University of Sheffield, and the University of Bath hold lectures in person in some departments. And while the university is fully charged to board the ship, all students couldn't feel as similar as the board.
After more than a year in isolation and studying via an online medium, many college students feel unsettling and expect cautious optimism to return to their universities. Kimi Chaddah, a student at Durham University and a writer on education and politics, shared that she's looking forward to the spontaneity of in-person interaction.
While the students have been in their homes for such a long time, many institutions believe that rapid transition may be a tough challenge to overcome. To tackle such an issue, some institutions like the University of Edinburgh, Cambridge University and the London School of Economics are holding smaller seminars face-to-face but keeping virtual lectures this year.
As physical classrooms take the steering wheel, many students and education experts believe that there are valid reasons to keep some online learning as part of a hybrid model. First and foremost, it allows the safety of students till the complete end of Covid-19.
With more, some specially challenged students could also continue with their education via online learning. In contrast, physical attendance could pose a threat to their lack of interest in attending physical college. And the warmth of I and energy, which everyone misses nowadays, is a significant dividend for most college adulthood.
On her experience with the online classes and the past year hybrid learning model, Sophia, a second-year math student at the University of Leeds, shares that she now knows how easy it is to fall behind on online lectures and classes.
"Conversations with teachers felt detached and connections with course mates cursory. It feels like we're stuck on pause. Everything else is moving forward – the schools, events, time itself, and we're stuck staring at screens".
Mike, a secondary school teacher in Lincolnshire who is in his 50s and has been a teacher for more than 20 years, thinks the lack of guidance from the government produces a degree of uncertainty and tags them as "completely daft". "We don't know what to expect," he says.
"They're meant to measure if a room is stuffy, but the difference in air quality between a room of 10 pupils and 29 (my largest-sized class) will be huge," said Mike.
As the new norms will allow a more productive learning environment, many teachers feel the re-rise of physical classroom sessions against an unprecedented timeline of the various variants of the virus could pose a severe threat if not dealt with correctly.
"Even though I'm double vaccinated, I am worried about getting Covid. One colleague who is similar to me suffered quite badly during the last week of term despite being double jabbed. Everyone in the staff room is really nervous," Mike concluded.