With Coronavirus, or COVID-19, rapidly expanding into a pandemic, many colleges and universities across the country have decided to relegate their students to virtual learning. Southern Miss announced on March 12 that it is following suit, and, following spring break, all coursework would be continued online.
While there are many potential problems with this solution, like differing learning styles and refunding tuition for cut physical class time, one of the biggest is internet access.
Cherish Triplett is a senior English major who is uncertain about the move to online classes.
“I have to figure out how to get a laptop. I have rent, and I can only work so many hours because of school. That’s why I have to rely on the library so much,” Triplett said.
Outside of not having laptops, some students have to travel back to homes that do not have internet access. Homes in wooded areas or on the outskirts of towns are often without access, meaning some may have to commute just for the library.
Jade Kitchens, a senior child and family sciences major, said she suffers from a lack of strong internet access at home.
“The internet is extremely slow and doesn’t work well enough to watch classroom lecture videos. Last night, I couldn’t even submit my PowerPoint because the signal wasn’t strong enough,” Kitchens said.
Internet carriers like Comcast and AT&T are offering support by making prices lower for students and allowing free hotspots for those who are not customers.
Many students rely on the school library to be able to complete assignments and study. The library closes at 2 a.m. on most days, except Friday and Saturday. But with many facilities temporarily closing across campus, students are not sure how the virus will affect these hours.
In an email March 12, Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett announced that many student services,including Cook Library, would remain open with adjusted hours.
March 16-20: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
March 21 and 22: Closed
March 23-27: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
March 28: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
March 29: 12 p.m.-9 p.m.
Students can follow the Southern Miss Cook Library Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.