Learning in the Outdoors
While there are few ways of improving conditions in the Pavillions, students still face discomfort
By Maria Soe
Since August 23rd, Saint Mary’s has made the effort to shift back to in-person instruction to conduct the school’s education. However, with Coronavirus still having an impact on campus safety, outdoor classes have been established to keep both students and faculty safe.
As described on the Saint Mary’s website, “Twelve Pavilion [Tents] have been constructed at the Recreation Sports Field for outdoor classes during the Covid-19 Pandemic.” To reflect the average classroom, there are five Pavilions that include TVs and microphones for professors to efficiently conduct their classes. However, there are few resources that help student’s comfort with the weather.
“It can be miserable when the weather is really cold or really hot,” says Darien Thomas ‘23, a member of the school’s sports band. “There’s nothing protecting us from the heat or the cold. Cold weather in particular can make it hard to focus on class. They do have heaters at the top of the structure, but they don’t really do anything.”
“The cold makes playing harder and the weather can damage our instruments,” another student of the sports band, James Vaughan ‘24, adds. “There have been nights where it has been freezing and windy, and that sort of weather ruins the motivation and morale of the class.”
“There isn’t much that can be done about the heat other than dressing light,” one student reports, focusing on the hot weather. “The chairs outside use a leathery material, which tends to soak up the heat. The pavilion classes are also on the stadium field, so the turfgrass makes it hotter by around ten degrees.”
“The weather has been a big influence, in my opinion,” states Yrah Macahilas ‘23, having experience from her General Physics class. “Since it's been so cold lately, it’s tough to do our work and focus. When it’s super hot outside, I also had this issue because I did not want to stand in the sun. Even though there are tents, we’re spread out so sometimes I would be standing where the sun hits.”
“It’s frustrating. I feel like there’s no one to talk to voice our complaints,” Vaughan also comments. His thoughts are shared amongst other students, as they feel trapped in these environments.
The overall opinions of students have been ones of discomfort, all wishing for better conditions. However, because of Covid-19, students feel as though they have no other option. “Until the Covid-19 situation gets better, the outdoor classes will have to do. But, in regards to comfort, there is none,” Thomas expressed. When asked what the school could do to fix these conditions, he responded that “bigger desks, more heaters, and maybe a fan for hot days” would improve his experience.
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Ryan Ford '23,