Pre-Vet and Equestrian majors make up a large portion of students at the University of Findlay. These majors are very hands-on from working in labs to handling animals. Which poses a challenge for the new online remote learning style the university is switching to Monday, March 16.
The switch comes after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine requested all Ohio universities abandon face-to-face instruction in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio.
Shannon Carr is a sophomore in the English Equestrian major on campus.
“I feel like they are making the right decision based on the circumstances,” Carr said.
Sophomore Pre-Vet major, Alyssa May, agrees that given the circumstances, UF made the right call.
“I feel UF did the right thing and followed other campuses, and I’m happy that they are still letting us live on campus,” said May. “We do not have to go to the barns because our barn duties got canceled so that is nice too.”
In an email sent to the UF community from Dave Emsweller, stated that “Students may continue to attend riding classes as normal in the barns and arenas. Classroom lecture information will be delivered online. Riding class times will continue as currently scheduled. Barn work, feeding chores, and work weekends will continue as normal.”
“Obviously, they can’t send us all home because we are responsible for these living, breathing animals that depend on us for everything,” said Carr. “If they were to send everyone home, they would have to still find people to take care of the horses. So given the circumstances and limited options, I believe they are truly doing the best they can with the intentions of riders, staff, and horses in mind.
However, Carr is still undecided if she will stay on campus and go out to the barns and take care of the animals, or if she will return home to spend time with her family. She is also worried that her lessons may not be as strong in a remote location.
“My family wants me to come home, so I feel like my instruction is, therefore, going to be lacking a bit,” said Carr. “However, I don’t feel as if it is hurting my success in my major. Although I will not be riding here, I will still be given written assignments in place of riding.
While Carr knows riding the horses is the best way to become better in her career, she trusts her instructors when they tell her that going home is okay.
“Riding every day is part of my major and it is what I look forward to helping me succeed, but, I know that I trust my instructors to know what is best for those of us going home,” said Carr. “So I will still be succeeding, just not in a hands-on type way”.
In that same email, Emsweller acknowledged that lab-related classes, like animal science classes or things of that nature, will be delivered differently.
“Students will receive guidance from course instructors and/or the academic program chair regarding delivery of these labs,” Emsweller said in the email. “If students have questions regarding their labs, they should first contact the instructor for the course, then the program chair.”
Even with the luxury of not going to the barn for classes, May, like many other students, is worried about the quality of instruction that will be able to be provided due to them being online and not face-to-face.
“I do not believe that I will pass some of my classes now,” said May. “My chemistry teacher does not even know how to use a computer and I am very worried about that.”
Resources for those looking for more information about COVID-19 in Ohio and how to prepare can log on to https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/.