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Retirees Association

Wright State Guardian: Spring semester with Omicron variant, no course mode changes

Guardian Photo od campus by Soham Parikh

Excerpt from the Wright State Guardian

As the Omicron COVID-19 variant spreads across the U.S. and Wright State University students plan for an in-person return to campus, a faculty member is expressing concern for the upcoming spring semester while reflecting on past COVID difficulties. 

Bruce LaForse, associate professor of classics in the College of Liberal Arts (COLA), expressed concern over the return to campus in the spring and recounted past difficulties due to COVID.

“I am very concerned about the spread of Omicron on our campus this coming semester. The administration has been much too slow and cautious overall in responding to COVID,” LaForse wrote. 

He went on to further explain how during the fall semester he requested a larger classroom for a 39 person history class he taught to enable social distancing and reduce the spread of COIVD-19. 

He took his request to his Chair, Ava Chamberlain, then to outgoing COLA Dean, Linda Caron, and eventually to the provost. He was rejected each time. 

LaForse shared email communication between him and Chamberlain and Dean Caron regarding the larger classroom request. 

In an email sent to LaForse from Caron, dated Aug. 20, 2021, Caron cites the lack of larger classrooms and the understaffing of the Registrar’s office as reasons for denying the professor a classroom change. 

“As I understand it, there is a two-part issue. One is that there are simply not many large classrooms, especially during popular time blocks. The other issue is that the Registrar’s office is understaffed and doesn’t have the capacity to respond to a lot of requests,” Caron wrote. 

Through working with the WSU branch of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), LaForse was able to receive a larger classroom for his course. 

Despite these efforts, the classics professor still had to move his fall course online due to his students catching COVID. He reported that he also caught COVID in the fall despite being fully vaccinated and wearing a mask while teaching.