COVID-19 affects number of courses offered summer quarter

Justin Zabel, Staff Reporter

The STEM program is offering more courses this summer quarter than previous years, in contrast to the Communication Department, which is offering fewer.

Due to COVID-19, the demands for these classes have changed. The Communication Department is offering 11 summer courses this year. 

“Right now this is the offering we have at this point,” said Francesco Somaini, the Communication department chair and The Observer’s Editorial Consultant.

Two weeks ago, Somaini sent out an email asking the students in the Communication Department to fill out a course offering sheet. This was sent in order to get a rough estimate of how many students were planning on taking a summer class for either on time graduation or getting a course checked off their degree. 

“So far I have received 14 students’ replies, and only four of them had a need for classes to be taken by summer in order to graduate by summer,” Somaini said. “Another five who expressed interest in classes but they don’t really need them, planning on graduating in a year from now. They may have been considering them, but not something they absolutely need at this point.  “And then a handful of others, the other five or six, they said they really were not planning on taking summer quarter.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are not as many instructors available in the Communication Department, according to Somaini.

“It’s an annual yearly plan,” Somaini said. “What we are offering right now has been affected by the coronavirus as much as coronavirus has affected operations at the university. We are offering the classes we can offer with the instructors that we have.”

However, the STEM Teaching program hasn’t usually offered summer courses before.

“We have tried in the past and summer courses have rarely filled to meet the CWU course minimum policy (which is 15 students in 300 and 400 level courses),” Jennifer Dechaine-Berkas, the department chair of the Science and Mathematics Teaching program said. 

The STEM Teaching Department would like the idea of offering more courses if there was the minimum policy of students to take the classes, but they don’t know if that is feasible, since summer tuition is more expensive per credit than the rest of the academic school year.