Sociology survey shows impact of COVID-19 on students
Out of the 2,845 Central Michigan University undergraduate students surveyed, about 74 percent said they didn't learn as much as they normally would during the Fall 2020 semester.
During the fall semester, sociology students emailed a survey to all 11,885 undergraduate students enrolled in classes at the main campus. Just more than 3,000 students answered, and data was used from 2,977 students.
Sociology faculty member Mary Senter compiled data from the survey and wrote up the data into the "CMU Undergraduates and the Pandemic: Report of Findings from the Fall 2020 Survey."
"Students in my Social Research Methodologies class (SOC 350) worked with me to design and field an online survey in Fall 2020, the first semester when all CMU classes included an online component available to students," Senter wrote in the report. "Survey questions focused on the impact of the pandemic on students’ academic lives as well as on their views about CMU, their social relationships, and their health."
Senter will be part of the virtual panel dicussion "The Impact of the Pandemic on Students’ Academic Lives" at 12 p.m. Jan. 29. The report is going to be used to show how COVID-19 has effected students and help the university decide how to further handle it.
“A lot of people in the administration can see this evidence," Fall 2020 SOC 350 student Madelynne Gregory said. "Students are facing many challenges and there should be a push to become more flexible for them.”
The report was divided into seven sections based on student views on how COVID-19 has affected their mental, physical, financial and social health.
"The first questions in the survey asked students whether they were enrolled in each of five different types of classes in Fall 2020," Senter wrote in the report. "They were also questioned about whether they incurred costs in preparing for fall classes and whether they would recommend HyFlex instruction to others.
More than 80 percent of CMU students were enrolled in HyFlex classes and 85 percent of those student would "probably" or "definitely" recommend the format to others.
The majority of students said they like the flexibility of online classes and feel supported by professors.
"By way of contrast, more than 70 percent of students disagree that they are learning as much 'this semester' as they usually do and report that the amount that they have learned in classes since the pandemic began in March decreased some or a lot," Senter wrote in the report. "While the largest number of students—45 percent—indicate that their GPA has stayed the same since the pandemic began, almost 40 percent report that their GPA has decreased."
Most of the surveyed students said missing out on social gatherings with friends, missing out on attending CMU sports events and not being able to participate in RSO's had a "major impact on them."
In the "Changes in Social Support Since the Pandemic Began in March" table, 83.5 percent of students indicated their use of social media has increased. The majority of students indicated that their financial support and social support from parents and family members has "stayed the same."
As far as social connections with peers go, students indicated the amount of social support received from friends and peers has either "stayed the same" or "decreased some." In addition, 71.7 percent of respondents either "somewhat" or "strongly disagree" with the statement "I feel connected to peers at CMU."
When it came to student worries, 71.3 percent said "I am worried that my family members will get sick with COVID-19" and 61.6 percent said "I am worried about finding a job after graduation."
"Students are split in their level of worry about contracting COVID-19 on campus or in Mount Pleasant," Senter wrote in the report. "More than one half of students are very or somewhat worried about catching COVID-19 on campus or in the town of Mount Pleasant, although more than 40 percent are either not too worried or not at all worried."
The survey did find that students are less worried about getting COVID-19 in their hometowns and are more worried about "spreading COVID-19 to their family."
The survey found that only 28.8 percent of the respondents "attended any social gathering with more than 10 people since the start of Fall semester."
The survey shows the pandemic has had an immense factor with the health of students with 57.8 percent stating their physical health has suffered and 77.8 percent stating their mental health has suffered since the beginning of the pandemic.
Only 8.8 percent of students indicated that they think CMU handled the return of fall classes "not well at all," while 66 percent indicated that it was handled "very" or "moderately well."