Light & Verity

Without walls

Many classes met outside in the fall.

Mark Alden Branch ’86

Mark Alden Branch ’86

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Moving a class or section outside—like this one, spotted on Old Campus in October—has always been an occasional treat for students when a teacher found the weather irresistibly fine. But for some faculty, what was once a whim became a strategy. This past fall, with the Delta and Omicron variants threatening, some teachers felt that teaching outdoors was safer, even in a mostly vaccinated population. Political science and humanities lecturer Mordechai Levy-Eichel ’15PhD found space in tents put up by the university—or sometimes simply on the grass—for his section of Directed Studies. “In DS, we start with Plato’s dialogues, which begin with Socrates out and about, so it seemed appropriate,” he says. Being outside also gave students the option of going without masks, which were required indoors. “We’ve had the ability to look at each other’s faces while we argue and debate,” says Levy-Eichel. The idyll continued until near the end of the term, when the cold chased his classes back to their assigned indoor locations.

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