Coronavirus forced college students online. But what about majors that require field work?

Sydney Keller
For The York Dispatch

York College students are adjusting to online schooling, but some are worried about the required field work they’re missing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Students were notified  March 20 that they would be learning remotely to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. It was initially supposed to be until  April 14, but the college later decided to continue the rest of the semester online.  

Samantha Gill, a senior from Quakertown, Bucks County, is studying nuclear medicine, a major that requires her to do clinical work with York Hospital.

The virus has “definitely impacted my schoolwork a lot,” she said. “Most of it was just so hands-on. … Definitely not being able to go to clinical is hurting the amount of hours I would've been able to be there.”

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Samantha Gill

Gill said the clinical work accounts for about 75% of her major requirements. The other 25% can be done online, so that portion has not affected her studying.

Not only is she worried about being behind on her clinical hours requirement, but, as a senior, she is missing out on the “lasts” that everyone ending college looks forward to.

Senior year “definitely came to a halt a lot faster than I think a lot of us expected,” Gill said.

Gill is a part of Delta Phi Epsilon, and she said it is sad that she can’t finish her last year with the sorority. She mentioned usually there is a senior send-off and a last formal, but because of the coronavirus, she will not get to experience those.

“There’s so many traditions that we go through at the end of the year,” Gill said. “There’s so many different things that we missed out on.

Signs block the entrances to York College, Thursday, March 19, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

“There’s a lot worse things going on in the world, but it still kinda stinks to have that all end so abruptly,” she added.

Gill said she has been keeping in touch with friends via Zoom, which is nice, but she would still like to be together with them in person for her last semester of college.

Like Gill, junior Emily Pupo is missing out on hands-on experience this semester. Pupo is an early elementary education major, which requires field experience in an elementary school.

Emily Pupo

“Obviously, we can’t do that part of the class, which is upsetting,” she said. “ I bet if you asked any education major, field experience is probably one of their favorite parts of each course because they go into a different elementary school and see how a teacher operates their classroom.”

Not only are students missing out on essential learning experiences for their degrees, but some are not used to online learning. Pupo considers herself a face-to-face learner, and the coronavirus is hindering her learning.

“I think that education courses are more interpersonal,” she said. "It’s definitely been a change, but I feel like the professors are now starting to figure out reasonable and meaningful ways to do instruction online.”

Pupo is at home in Dallas, Texas, and she doesn’t know when she will be able to make the 20-hour drive back to York College to get her belongings.

“I wish they would’ve let us come back and pick up things,” she said. “I’m living off of one suitcase right now. I don’t like having all my stuff at my room in York.”