EAST LANSING, Mich. —
A group of about 50 students and parents gathered outside the Union on Michigan State University's campus Saturday to rally for 100-percent in-person classes this fall.
“I am out here to promote my Spartan getting 100-percent face-to-face education,” said Suzy Rider, a parent of an MSU student.
Rider has a son enrolled at MSU and said she feels they aren't getting their money's worth.
“We’re paying a lot of money for that education and I do not feel we are getting our money’s worth," Rider said. "It’s like buying a brand new car and it comes without wheels and an engine.”
Rider said her son has also been missing the human interaction in the classroom.
“I don’t think that his professors have really had the advantage of getting to know him as a person and him getting to know them as a person and understanding where they want to be and where he’s going,” she said.
MSU started keeping a record of COVID cases at the end of July. Since then, the Ingham County Health Department has reported just over 4,000 positive cases linked to the university.
MSU's deputy spokesperson Dan Olsen said the university is planning for a more traditional fall semester with nearly all undergraduate classes offered in person.
A student at the rally, who gave his name only as Gabe is a sophomore said online classes are much harder than in-person instruction.
“You feel like you’re teaching yourself, you don’t get to walk around the beautiful campus,” he said.
One of the biggest things he misses is human interaction.
“The ability to get outside meet new people through class," he said. "It’s more difficult than ever to even just see people.”
Olsen said, during the course of the pandemic, students have said they want more online classes.
“Students tell us that the flexibility offered by synchronous and asynchronous online courses throughout the year provides them with more choices for their learning, more opportunities to take advantage of other activities such as internships, study abroad, and work opportunities, and the opportunity to continue making progress toward graduation when they need to be away from East Lansing for a semester," Olsen said. "In the fall, as we return to in-person operations, we will offer a larger number of online courses than we offered before the pandemic.”
Gabe said he's hoping to return to in-person classes entirely.
“I’m hoping that in the future, in the fall, we’ll see entirely in-person classes or at least the option to do so," he said. "I feel like online learning is a frustrating experience.”
Olsen said he does expect testing and other protective measures to continue to some degree in the fall and following those rules and regulations will keep the university on track to re-open.
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