University of Dubuque aviation program changes during COVID-19

By: MORGAN SCHUELLER (LCTV)

COVID-19 has led schools across the nation to shut down and turn to online class. Switching to classes online is a major change and causes for much adjustment; however, there are some programs that lead to bigger questions of how things will turn out. Some of these would include hands-on programs such as nursing, engineering, and aviation. Aviation hits home with The University of Dubuque as they have a well known aviation program.

Chaminda Prelis, Director of Aviation Programs went into great depth about how University of Dubuque is handling aviation courses. Very similar to other courses and colleges, aviation classes are being conducted online. Some classes rely upon students working individually, while others are utilizing video apps that allow screen sharing. However, how are students supposed to complete their flight practice and training?

Prelis said “When the governor [Kim Reynolds] closed down operations we had to end flights.” This becomes an issue as aviation students are required to complete specific training and earn certification. A few of the certificates students need in order to graduate are private, commercial pilot, instrument, and multi-engine rating. Prelis mentioned that University of Dubuque is hoping to open up during the summer to get aviation students back in to complete their training. 

“ We are going to prioritize the seniors once operations open back up to get their requirements.”

Chaminda Prelis, Director of Aviation Programs

Senior Benjammin Berger at University of Dubuque is a student in the aviation program. Berger spoke about some of the changes happening at University of Dubuque. Berger expressed that the online change had been difficult as classes are not as interactive. As a senior, Berger expressed that things are harder for himself and fellow seniors when it comes to flight operations and requirements needed in order to graduate. 

“I still need to get a multi engine rating or CFI as part of my requirements to graduate.”

Benjammin Berger, University of Dubuque Senior

Through this pandemic, schools have changed in many ways and the University of Dubuque aviation program shows that. The school is taking appropriate measures to ensure that seniors and other students will meet their requirements and education in an efficient manner. Chaminda Prelis mentioned that once the program is back and running, action will be taken to sanitize all flights, students are maintaining health, and teachers are taking precautions as well between the health of themselves and students. 

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Morgan is a freshman at Loras College, and is from Dubuque, Iowa. An anchor and reporter for LCTV news. She is majoring in Marketing and Media Studies.

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