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Hoping for in-person classes this fall, colleges continue preparations for returning students

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) has several of new guidelines and safety measures for the upcoming fall semester.

"Mask guidelines…we've put up plexiglass, really try to keep everybody safe," said RCTC Executive Director of Communications Nate Stoltman. "That's what we're really gearing up for here come the end of August so that when we do have students on campus, everyone does feel safe, welcome, and can learn in the best environment possible."

RCTC is offering in-person classes, hybrid classes, and online options for classes if students do not feel safe enough to attend in person.

"I still think there's a lot of uncertainty out there. I think there's a lot of students who are still on the fence as to whether or not they still want to go away for school in light of the questions for safety," said Stoltman. "We really view this as: you can stay home, you can stay safe, you can save money."

The students we spoke with prefer in-person learning.

"At first it was a pretty tough transition, mostly for the fact that we couldn't see our classmates and we are kinda like a family so it was tough to not be with everyone," said graduate student Heather Buerman. "And also being that, for graduate in health care, it was really tough not to have that hands on component."

"I would love to go back to school. I would love to see my friends, my professors, my coaches, the community," said Waldorf University senior Ryall Purdy. "I'd love to re-join that aspect of life, but the reality is really setting in that things aren't going to be the same."

Despite all the concern with school now, enrollment at RCTC is up for the summer.

"In fact, our summer enrollment is the best it's been in four years," Stoltman said.

He says it's too early to tell if the numbers will be up this fall.

Zach Fuller

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