Students concerned how remote learning will impact hands-on classes

Some students are now worried about what this means for their course credit and grades if they are in majors that require labs or outside work.
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Coronavirus concerns hit more colleges Wednesday as the UMass network and the University of Rhode Island also announced they’ll be moving to virtual learning until at least April.

Some students are now worried about what this means for their course credit and grades if they are in majors that require labs or outside work.

“It’s going to be difficult to now adjust quickly to an online course for both faculty and students,” said UMass Amherst Student Dylan Barcelos.

So what do you do if your classes require more than just reading, writing, and discussion?

“The stress is coming from – how is nursing going to work? How am I supposed to stay on top of things for school and nursing? How am I supposed to do this off-campus?” said URI Nursing Student Abigail Zabielski.

As a nursing student in her junior year, Zabielski says she’s concerned she won’t be able to continue her clinical work, which she needs to pass her classes and gain practical experience in the nursing field.

“Practicing how to take vital signs on a patient, giving them an assessment,” Zabielski explained. “We learn how to distribute medications…I basically rely on doing clinical as getting that hands-on experience.”

Barcelos of Westport is studying biochemistry at UMass Amherst. He said by phone that he’ll now have to drop his current research projects, and is unsure how he and other students will be expected to complete lab requirements remotely.

“These labs use toxic substances that requires us students to have a proper lab to be safe,” Barcelos explained. “If you’re going to be at home you can’t be just be bringing these chemicals in your home with your family in a kitchen or something.”

In a statement, a URI spokesperson did say they are working on creative ways for students who have labs and other required in-person instruction to continue their work.

And in his message to the campus, the chancellor at UMass Amherst said they will let students who are in these kinds of courses know if they’ll be allowed back to campus just for those classes.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

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