Like many other URI majors, the Kinesiology department has also had to adapt to survive. Photo from web.uri.edu.

Due to the hands-on nature of kinesiology, the kinesiology department at the University of Rhode Island has had to adapt in countless ways to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All kinesiology students this year have been given various take-home lab kits that include a blood pressure monitor, skinfold caliper, and more. These kits are supplied to the students in an attempt to make the material they are learning online easier to comprehend and still somewhat interactive, according to Kinesiology Professor Matthew Delmonico.

Alyssa Sands, a junior kinesiology major, has been learning remotely this year and believes that it has affected her learning.

“The hands-on learning has all turned remote,” Sands said. “It’s been very difficult to wrap my head around the different techniques and concepts within certain kinesiology classes and lab classes too.” 

Before COVID-19, students were able to attend in-person labs where they could explore and learn new kinesiology methods. 

Junior Ryota Mogi, another kinesiology major, is studying kinesiology in hopes of becoming a strength and conditioning coach one day.

“Since the pandemic, I haven’t had a single kinesiology class in person and never had the chance to learn hands-on,” Mogi said.  “Despite not being able to learn hands-on, the professors are doing a great job helping us learn and prepare us for our future.”

With kinesiology students relying so heavily on the hands-on learning aspect of the major, the department has had to adapt almost entirely. Delmonico has had to now attempt to teach these various methods virtually to his students. He said that it has been a learning process for professors as well as students.

“It caused us to learn a lot,” Delmonico said. “I think our faculty do a very good job at trying our best to make this as seamless as possible, but for every student, not everything is going to always work, but we’re doing our best.”

As the kinesiology department and staff put their best foot forward to help students thrive during these abnormal times, some graduating seniors are apprehensive about what is to come after graduation. 

Paige Grenkiewicz, a soon-to-be graduating senior of URI, has spent her final year in online classes during a global pandemic, but she was able to find learning opportunities through an internship.

“In a way, I feel like I tried as best I could with what information I was given, but I do feel my internship has made me feel more prepared and helped guide me with my further education,” Grenkiewicz said. “I am going back to school once I graduate and I do feel like I need to retake a few classes to be able to perform to the best of my ability in what I pursue.” 

As the end of the 2020-2021 academic year grows closer, Deborah Riebe, the associate dean of the College of Health and Sciences, believes that her students have handled the challenges brought by the pandemic as well as possible.

“Taking the current situation into account, I think that’s taught a lot of people, not just students really what they’re capable of,” Riebe said. “I was amazed at my class this fall, they were absolutely remarkable, and I told them that. Students right now have had an awful lot thrown at them, and they have excelled.”