One Year Behind the Zoom Screen

EvCC students discuss online learning one year later.

With the one year anniversary of online classes, Winter quarter to Winter quarter, the date of returning to full on-campus learning remains undetermined.

In an email sent out on Jan. 11, EvCC’s President Dr. Daria Willis announced the school will continue to offer “most” of the classes for Spring quarter online. 

“I had hoped that we would be able to offer more in-person classes, but case counts are increasing, not decreasing, and widespread vaccination is not likely before Spring quarter starts on April 5,” said President Willis. 

The decision comes after close evaluation and tracking of the health conditions in Snohomish County along with updates every weekday from the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management. 

This means students will continue to choose between online classes both with and without scheduled livestream attendance as well as a select few hybrid classes which include a mix of online and in-person sessions and assignments.

Anthony Campos, EvCC student who was been attending hybrid classes. (Courtesy photo from Anthony Campos.)

Anthony Campos and Hubert Msonda are two students who have been involved in the hybrid class process through the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program at Paine Field. “I believe the school is doing the best they can,” says Campos. “They have strict protocols that include a daily survey an hour before class, a temperature check at the door, hand sanitizer access almost everywhere and they close the school for a few days when a student reports positive for COVID-19.”

Both Campos and Msonda feel that the school is doing a good job taking precautions to keep both students and staff safe in the hybrid class, but both still have concerns for their health when attending their courses. “Since we are in a building all day I wonder about how much exposure is going on,” says Msonda.

Hands-on learning is extremely important to many students, but in the aviation program as well as other hybrid courses, much of the firsthand experience is essential for continued growth in those fields. “I do feel the need to go back to [fully] in-person classes because it helps me focus more,” says Msonda. “I like to learn things hands-on so it’s important for me to attend in-person classes.”  

Both Campos and Msonda have enjoyed their hybrid class experience overall and are looking forward to coming back in February when the hangar opens up. “Though I enjoy the online learning, only getting half the quarter in the hangar makes it more difficult to complete the labs that are still based on the regular in-person standards,” says Campos. 

Current EvCC undergraduate Morgan Menzimer. (Courtesy photo from Morgan Menzimer.)

The change in school format has been a turn for the better for some. “I feel like I have adapted pretty well to online classes,” says Morgan Menzimer, a current undergraduate at the college. “I like that I can go at my own pace, replay lectures if I miss something and don’t get distracted in my classes anymore.” Menzimer has achieved her highest GPA of her academic career with a 4.0 last quarter.

However, that isn’t the only reason for her appreciation of online learning. “With how many cases there are currently, it seems reopening is dangerous no matter how you look at it,” says Menzimer. She believes the uncertainty outweighs the possible benefits of attending classes in person again at this time. 

With a year of online learning already in the books, or rather on the screens, there still may be more to come. But students at EvCC are still determined to get the most out of the classes they can, whether online or in person, and are looking forward to getting back to campus when it’s safe. “To go back to in-person classes there would need to be a significant drop in COVID cases, and an onsite testing area readily available for students who may have been exposed,” says Menzimer.