Local colleges returning to in-person classes

NOW: Local colleges returning to in-person classes

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- During the end of Notre Dame’s fall semester, the university made the decision to delay the spring semester which gave students a 10-week break. And Wednesday, majority of students were welcomed back to classroom!

“80 to 85 percent of the classes are in person,” University of Notre Dame Spokesperson Dennis Brown said. “As with the beginning of any semester it’s always good to have the liveliness of the student body back here in south bend and yet at the same time we aren’t fooling anyone we know it’s going to be very difficult. It’s difficult on them, just as it is on the faculty.”

While Irish students are already back in action, colleges like IUSB also are preparing for their transition back to face-to-face class next week.

“They’ll be some students on campus but not a full campus by any stretch just like Fall of 2020. About 26% of our spring 2021 classes will be offered in person, face to face about 13% will be a hybrid mode. And then the remaining number of courses will be all virtual,” IUSB Communications and Marketing Director Paige Risser said.

For some students, coming back to class is something they’ve been waiting eagerly for.

“I’m super excited! It’s really great to be back I actually have been here for a couple of weeks so it was kind of weird when campus was totally dead,” Notre Dame Junior Anna Kacergis said.

While others are not too excited about it all.

“I don’t really want to be in person, I would prefer to be online, dealing with all these protocols...I would just much rather be online or have remote be an option,” Notre Dame senior Micheal Mingey said.

Both colleges, just trying to do everything they can to make the last semester as safe and enjoyable as possible.

“We’ve got a lot of support systems in place because like we talked about there’s a lot unique challenges right now being a college student and so we are ready to help with those challenges may present for our student but also thinking of fun and creative ways to keep them involved in campus life,” Risser said.

“It’s just an unusual time. there’s some light at the end of the tunnel and so we’re all looking forward to that but at the same time will be working hard to try to maintain the health and safety of the campus and the broader community,” Brown said.

Aside from the social distancing and mask wearing requirements that have been implemented since the beginning, both Notre Dame and IUSB are making sure that this time around even more tests will be given. Testing students before coming back to campus and during the school year isn’t anything new to the colleges, but the amount and regularity of students who will get tested is.

“We’ve ramped up our mitigation testing this semester to keep our campuses safe as possible so we’re conducting ongoing and requiring COVID testing for dozens of students faculty and staff every week,” Risser said.

“In the fall we tested about 7,500 people per week, mostly students with both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases and this semester we will be testing about 14,000 students per week,” Brown said.

Trends in St. Joseph County have been at a decline, but in case things escalate either in the county or at the colleges, they both have plans in place to continue to keep students and staff safe.

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